Adams County Health Department (ACHD) officials confirmed the first human case of West Nile virus within the county this year. Additionally, West Nile virus has been found in mosquitoes within the county.
West Nile virus is most commonly spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. In Colorado, most human cases are reported in August and September. In 2021, Colorado had 175 reported human cases of West Nile virus, including 11 deaths.
Dr. Kelly Weidenbach, Executive Director of ACHD encourages residents to safeguard themselves from the West Nile virus.
“The virus is primarily transmitted through mosquito bites,” Weidenbach said. “To protect against it, we suggest using effective insect repellents, wearing protective clothing to minimize exposed skin, or opt to stay indoors during peak mosquito activity.”
Most people infected with West Nile virus don’t have symptoms. About 20% will have flu-like symptoms, and fewer than 1% develop a serious, potentially deadly illness. People aged 60 years and older and those with certain medical conditions are at greater risk of serious illness. See a healthcare provider if you develop severe headaches or begin experiencing confusion.
To protect yourself:
- Use insect repellents when you go outdoors. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol products provide the best protection. Always follow label instructions. For more information, visit the EPA’s information webpage.
- Limit outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
- Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and socks in areas where mosquitoes are active. Spray clothes with insect repellent for extra protection.
To mosquito-proof your home:
- Empty water from tires, cans, flowerpots, clogged gutters, rain barrels, birdbaths, toys, and puddles at least once every week.
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors.
For more information, visit the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s West Nile virus webpage.