Contact: Jennifer Ludwig, Public Health Director, 970-328-8819 or email@example.com
Recent instances of the West Nile virus in Colorado are serving as reminder for Eagle County residents to take precautions while enjoying the outdoors this fall. Thirty-three cases have been reported statewide so far this season, with 19 of those occurring in the northwest region of the state including Delta, Mesa and Montrose counties. While no cases have been reported in Eagle County, community members are encouraged to take steps to limit or prevent mosquito bites both at home and when traveling.
West Nile virus is a disease transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people who are infected do not become ill and have no symptoms. For those who do become ill, symptoms tend to develop three to 14 days after the bite by an infected mosquito. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include fever, headache and malaise. In some cases, the virus can lead to serious brain infections that may cause chronic disability or death. At increased risk of serious illness from West Nile infection are those over 50, solid organ transplant recipients, and people with weakened immune systems.
“The number of reported human West Nile infections is the United States is the highest since the virus was detected in the U.S. in 1989. Although the risk of mosquito bites is decreasing in Eagle County as the weather gets colder, infected mosquitoes may be around until the first frost or in other parts of the region with warmer weather,” said Eagle County Public Health Director Jennifer Ludwig. “Therefore it is important to prevent mosquito bites and wear repellent, especially if outdoors during dusk and dawn.”
The best way to prevent getting West Nile virus is to avoid mosquito bites. Eagle County Public Health offers these tips:
- Use a mosquito repellent with DEET which has been proven to be effective against West Nile Virus-carrying mosquitoes.
- Use mosquito netting over baby carriers and strollers.
- Keep exposed skin covered or use a repellent when out at prime mosquito-biting hours, between dusk and dawn.
- Use a powerful fan while sitting on a deck or patio to keep mosquitoes away.
- Drain standing water in yards and gardens.
- Empty any containers, toys, or other objects where rainwater may have collected at least twice a week.
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors.
For information on West Nile virus and repellent use, visit www.fightthebitecolorado.com or www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/RepellentUpdates.htm.