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West Nile virus confirmed in Colorado for 2023 season


DENVER (KDVR) — West Nile virus has been discovered around Colorado, both in mosquitoes and at least two humans.

Weld County announced Thursday it was investigating a potential case of the virus in a resident there. A human case also was detected this week in La Plata County in the southwest corner of the state, where Durango is the county seat.

In Denver, health officials announced Thursday the virus had been detected among mosquitoes. But no human cases among Denverites have been detected so far, according to the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment.

West Nile virus has been found in seven Colorado counties so far this year, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment:

  • Arapahoe
  • Boulder
  • Delta
  • Denver
  • Larimer
  • Pueblo
  • Weld

Mosquito populations higher this year

Mosquito numbers have been higher this year after heavy rainfall through the spring and summer, health officials say.

In Weld County, health officials said the count of Culex mosquitoes, which transmit the virus, was 10 times higher than the five-year average as of the week of July 16.

West Nile symptoms can appear 3-14 days after infection, health officials say. While most infected people do not show symptoms, they can include fever, headache, nausea and vomiting, muscle aches, weakness and rash.

Fewer than 1% of infected people can develop a neuroinvasive illness, which is serious and can be deadly.

Prevent West Nile virus

Health officials urge people to remember “the four Ds” to avoid getting infected:

  • Use insect repellent with DEET.
  • DRESS in long sleeves and pants when in areas with higher mosquito populations, like the mountains or garden.
  • Avoid the outdoors from DUSK until DAWN.
  • DRAIN standing water outside your home.

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