Officials announce first West Nile Virus death in Colorado | MyWindsorNow.com

Officials announce first West Nile Virus death in Colorado

Kelly Ragan
kragan@greeleytribune.com

Colorado officials say a Fort Collins resident has died of the West Nile Virus.

The Loveland Reporter-Herald reports the death is the first in Colorado caused by the disease, which is transmitted through mosquitoes and attacks the body's nervous system. Officials did not release the victim's name, the date of death or in what area of Larimer County they may have contracted the disease in their Tuesday announcement because of privacy concerns.

Health officials say four people in Larimer County have contracted the West Nile. Of the four cases, two have been categorized as the most-serious, neuroinvasive type.

Areas in Loveland have undergone spraying operations by crews from Vector Disease Control International throughout the summer.

So far this year, Weld County has seen five human cases of West Nile virus.

Eric Aakko, spokesman for the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment, said none of those cases have been fatal, but one person did contract neuroinvasive west nile virus, the most serious kind.

Recommended Stories For You

Trapping has ended for the season, Aakko said, but data from the last week of August showed a vector index of 0.65 in Greeley and Evans, 1.07 in the Johnstown, Milliken and Platteville area. An index above .50 indicates an increased risk of infection, Aakko said.

Aakko said West Nile will likely continue to be a risk through September and into October, until the first hard frost kills the mosquitos.

"Typically cases start to decrease as the season wanes," Aakko said, "but our message to the public is continue to protect yourself."

Last year, there were 27 human cases in Weld County.

Symptoms can appear three to 14 days after an infection. Initial symptoms can include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, weakness and rash, but most infected people don't show any symptoms. If a person develops symptoms, he or she should see a doctor immediately.

Health officials recommend following the four "D's" to prevent mosquito bites:

» 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. Other repellents containing picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol are also be effective against mosquitoes.

» Dress in long sleeves and pants in areas where mosquitoes are active.

For more information about the preventing mosquito bites, go to http://www.weldgov.com.

— The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Go back to article