First human case of West Nile Virus diagnosed in Weld County
WELD COUNTY, Colorado — One Individual in Weld County is currently being monitored for suspected West Nile Virus. This individual has experienced mild illness such as fever, fatigue, and body aches. Although this is the first human case of WNV in Weld County this year, there have been two positive equine cases in the county this summer.
Compared to a five-year average, the number of Culex mosquitoes, which carry WNV, is below average this week but has been above average for most of the summer, and mosquito pools continue to test positive for WNV. The onset date of this year’s first human case, however, is in line with the onset date of the first human case in previous years.
Most people infected with WNV will not show any symptoms, and only one in five will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. People who have WNV fever typically recover on their own, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. About 1% of people infected with WNV will develop a serious neurologic illness, such as meningitis or encephalitis, which requires hospitalization. Individuals with the more serious form of the disease can die from the illness or have debilitating symptoms for the rest of their life. Although serious illness can occur in anyone, those age 60 years and older or who have certain medical conditions that may weaken the immune system are at a greater risk for serious illness.
WNV is carried by birds and transmitted by mosquitoes that bite infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then transmit the virus to humans, horses, and other birds. WNV symptoms usually appear three-14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. There are no medications to treat WNV or vaccines to prevent infection. County health officials recommend the four Ds to prevent mosquito bites and to reduce breeding areas:
• DRAIN standing water around your house weekly. Remember to drain water from tires, cans, flowerpots, clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, toys, and puddles.
• DUSK and DAWN are when mosquitoes are most active. Limit outdoor activities and take precautions to prevent mosquito bites during these times.
• DEET is an effective ingredient to look for in insect repellents. Always follow label instructions carefully.
• DRESS in long sleeves and pants in areas where mosquitos are active.
For more information about WNV in Weld County go to weldhealth.org.
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