Avoid mosquito bites - West Nile virus is here
Updated August 12, 2007
West Nile numbers rise in Fort Collins area
The number of confirmed human West Nile virus cases in Larimer County has increased to 20 as of Aug. 11 - leaving the county tied with Boulder County - as the counties with the most confirmed infections of Colorado's 79 total cases.
State health officials have reported two deaths linked to the West Nile virus this year. A 63-year-old who became ill around July 11 died on Aug. 2. A 77-year-old who became ill on July 26 died on Aug. 4. Both lived in Denver.
West Nile more widespread than numbers show
Only about one-fourth of all West Nile cases are reported according to state epidemiologist John Pape. And trends suggest that heat and rain are creating a great deal of mosquito activity, particularly in northern Colorado.
For every person who contracts the most severe form of West Nile virus - life-threatening brain swelling called meningitis and encephalitis - state health officials estimate there are 140 others infected with the disease.
Of those 140 cases:
-20 percent will become ill with symptoms
-80 percent won't get sick or have any symptoms at all
Read more in the Rocky Mountain News at http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_5665354,00.html.
Warning to Colo. residents and visitors
On July 13, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued a warning to Colorado residents and visitors to take precautions against West Nile virus.
The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and may be passed to humans and animals -- mostly birds and horses.
Surveillance systems monitoring West Nile virus activity are showing Culex mosquito populations are at or above the counts observed at the same time in 2003, when Colorado experienced a large West Nile virus outbreak.
Mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus have been found in at least 18 counties, including Larimer. Health officials expect more human cases because they began discovering infected mosquitoes earlier than usual.
Hot weather associated with increased WNV transmission
According to Chester G. Moore, a professor and researcher with the CSU Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, "The main reason for concern this year is that there are more mosquitoes of the species that transmit West Nile virus showing up in the traps run by Colorado Mosquito Control and by our group here at CSU. Also, the recent hot weather - which is often associated with increased WNV transmission - is an added cause for concern."
"FOUR Ds" to protect against WEST NILE VIRUS
1. Dawn/dusk - Be sure to use protection or avoid being outside during these times of the day, when mosquitoes are most active.
2. Dress - Wear loose fitting, lightweight long sleeves and pants when you're outside. For extra protection, spray thin clothing with insect repellent.
3. DEET - Whenever you're outdoors, use an insect repellent with DEET (N, N-diethylm-toluamide) or another repellent approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, such as products containing picaridin and lemon of eucalyptus oil.
4. Drain - Get rid of standing water in your backyard and neighborhood. Drain any standing water in old tires, flowerpots and clogged rain gutters. These are mosquito-breeding sites. Change the water in birdbaths at least weekly.
-- Usually appear 3-14 days after exposure
-- People over 50 are most vulnerable
-- Most mild symptoms include: fever, headache, body aches, neck stiffness, muscles weakness and tremors, disorientation, convulsions, coma and sometimes skin rashes or swollen lymph nodes
-- Serious symptoms include: swelling of the brain and/or meningitis (swelling of the brain's lining). Seek medical attention immediately.
REPORT DEAD BIRDS
Anyone who finds a dead bird is advised to call the Colorado Health Emergency Line for the Public (CoHELP) at 1-877-462-2911. Emergency line staff members are available to respond to hotline calls from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays and from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
In addition to taking reports of dead birds, staff members can answer most questions about West Nile virus. To read more from the CDPHE, visit http://www.fightthebitecolorado.com.
COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY RESOURCES
- CSU produced CDC Public Service Announcement video at http://www.csutv.colostate.edu/video/cdc.wmv.
-- Colorado State University Extension Fact Sheets, Tip Sheets, and Related Links on West Nile Viurs are available at http://www.ext.colostate.edu/westnile/reslist.html.
-- Colorado State University Hartshorn Health Services, "Ask Pat," information on West Nile Virus is located at http://askpat.colostate.edu/viewht.cfm?qid=23.
-- Professor Chester G. Moore in the CSU Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, conducts research on the "big picture" of vector-borne disease transmission (West Nile virus, plague, and Lyme disease). Visit Dr. Moore online and learn more about his research and publications at http://www.cvmbs.colostate.edu/mip/people/faculty/moore.htm.
Contact: Jayleen Heft
Phone Number: (970) 491-2655