WELD COUNTY — Health officials identified four human cases of West Nile infection in Weld County in recent weeks.
The cases involve patients ranging in age from 15 to 81 years. Three cases involve West Nile fever; the fourth is West Nile neuroinvasive disease.
“West Nile neuroinvasive disease is the most serious type of infection, affecting the brain and spinal cord” says Dr. Mark Wallace, Executive Director for the Weld County Health Department “The milder viral infection is West Nile fever, in which people experience flu-like symptoms. However, the majority of people who contract West Nile will be asymptomatic, which means they show no symptoms.”
Only a very small number of infected individuals will show the serious symptoms associated with the neuroinvasive disease. Residents who are 65 and older are at higher risk for complications, but everyone is at risk for infection. Health officials recommend the following measures to reduce mosquitoes near homes:
• Drain standing water outside the home. Use a Mosquito Dunk (larvicide) if you cannot drain.
• Avoid over-watering landscapes and yards.
Recommendations to prevent mosquito bites include:
• Apply an effective mosquito repellent to exposed skin and clothing.
• Avoid the outdoors from dusk until dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
Health department monitoring of mosquitoes began in early June through a network of mosquito traps set by Colorado Mosquito Control. The Culex mosquito, known to spread West Nile virus, is tested to determine the risk of disease to humans. Currently, mosquito traps in the Johnstown/Milliken and Greeley areas show the highest infection rates for West Nile virus.
For more information on West Nile virus, visit www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile.