The first verified human case of the West Nile virus in Colorado this year has been identified in La Plata County, according to the state’s health department on Monday. Although no cases have been recorded from those seven additional Colorado counties, the virus has been found in mosquitoes there as well. Arapahoe, Boulder, Delta, Denver, Larimer, Pueblo, and Weld are those counties.
Colorado has benefited from unprecedented rain in many ways, including reduced fire danger, an end to the drought, and lush landscape. However, one drawback is an increase in the state’s mosquito population.
The heavy rainfall this year has led to historic mosquito numbers in some areas of the state, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). “The risk of West Nile virus transmission to humans has increased due to the virus’s known presence and unusually high mosquito activity.”
The majority of West Nile virus infections go unnoticed, but for a small percentage of those, the virus can result in serious disease or, in the worst circumstances, death. 20 of the 206 documented human cases in 2022, according to CDPHE, were fatal. People over 60 and those with particular medical issues are especially at risk for consequences.
The following are some precautions that CDPHE advises you take:
- When you are outside, wear insect repellent. The most effective repellents are those that contain DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol. Visit the EPA’s information website to learn more about insect repellents. Always adhere to label directions.
- At night and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active, limit outside activity.
- In locations where mosquitoes are active, wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and socks. To add an extra layer of defence, spray repellant on clothing.
- You can keep mosquitoes away from your home by removing standing water around it once a week and by installing or fixing screens on your windows and doors.