Two human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Colorado, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
The cases were reported in Weld County in northern Colorado and Delta County in western Colorado. They’re the first human cases to be reported in the state this year.
Health officials have been testing mosquitoes for the virus since June. Mosquitoes in Adams, Boulder, Larimer, and Weld counties have tested positive for the virus this year.
Health officials said most human West Nile cases are reported in August and September. In 2017, there were 68 human cases of West Nile in Colorado. Four people died from the virus.
Most people who are infected with West Nile virus don’t have symptoms, according to the health department. About 20 percent have flu-like symptoms, and fewer than 1 percent develop a serious, potentially deadly illness, such as the one reported in Weld County last week.
People over age 60 and those with certain medical conditions are at greater risk of serious illness.
The health department said preventing mosquito bites is the best way to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses.
The health department offered the following tips for preventing mosquito bites:
- Use insect repellents when you go outdoors. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide the best protection. Follow label instructions.
- Limit outdoor activities at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus are most active.
- Wear protective clothing (long pants, long-sleeved shirts and socks) in areas where mosquitoes are active. Spray clothes with insect repellent for extra protection.
- Drain standing water around your house often. Empty water from tires, cans, flowerpots, clogged gutters, rain barrels, birdbaths, toys and puddles.
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors.