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Sunday, January 25, 2015

West Nile Virus Risk on the Rise

The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment reported that mosquitoes collected the week of July 13 to 17 tested positive for West Nile virus. The south county trap that tested positive is located near Horseshoe Lake in Loveland. 

Officials for the department noted numbers of mosquitoes were likely to increase and remain at a season high for the next six weeks. There have been two confirmed reports of West Nile virus in humans statewide this year, though none so far in Larimer County.

West Nile virus is a disease transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can cause mild to severe illness and, in some cases, leads to chronic disability or death. Human case reports tend to lag three to four weeks behind the time the person is infected.

West Nile virus is usually first detected in mosquitoes in this area in mid-July.  At increased risk of serious illness from West Nile infection exists for people over 50, solid organ transplant recipients, and people with weakened immune systems.

For more tips on what you can do to prevent West Nile virus, or on repellent use, visit: www.Larimer.org/health or call (970) 498-6700. For information on repellent use, go to www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/RepellentUpdates.htm; Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment West Nile virus info at www.FightTheBiteColorado.com. 

Prevention is worth the effort; here are some tips from the LCDHE:

  • Use a mosquito repellent that has been proven to be effective against West Nile Virus-carrying mosquitoes. Ones that contain DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (with active ingredient PMD, or p-menthane diol) or IR3535 are good choices.
  • Use mosquito netting over baby carriers and strollers.
  • Keep exposed skin covered or use a repellent when out at prime Culex mosquito-biting hours, between dusk and dawn.
  • Use a powerful fan while sitting on your deck or patio to keep mosquitoes away.
  • Drain standing water in your yard or in your garden.
  • Add mosquito-eating minnows or mosquito “dunks” to ornamental ponds with still water.
  • Keep window screens repaired.
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