WELD COUNTY, Colo. - Mosquitos in five Colorado counties have tested positive for West Nile Virus and officials say that's earlier than normal.
Mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus were found in tests in Adams, Boulder, Weld, Delta and Mesa counties. Weld County reported finding the virus in mosquitoes from two separate test pools. Boulder County Public Health said mosquitos tested positive at Christensen Park near Kings Ridge Boulevard and Tom Watson Park on 63rd Street.
"In past years, WNV activity did not begin until July," officials with Weld County Health Department said.
"Unfortunately, wet weather followed by high temperatures creates an ideal environment for mosquitos to breed," said Lane Drager, Boulder County Public Health Consumer Protection program coordinator. "Now is the time to take steps to protect ourselves and our families from West Nile virus."
Weld County Health Officials said there are two kinds of mosquitos in the area. A high number have come from the recent mountain runoff and rains, but those mosquitoes do not carry disease. Officials are concerned about the Culex mosquitos, which do spread the virus.
"It is early for the mosquito traps to test positive for West Nile virus," said Dr. Mark Wallace, Executive Director for the Weld County Health Department. "So it’s important for the public to take precautions against mosquito bites."
State health officials advise people take the "Four Ds" precautions against West Nile virus:
- Drain standing water around the house weekly since that's where mosquitoes lay eggs. Be sure to empty old tires, cans, flowerpots, clogged rain gutters, rain barrels and toys where puddles can occur.
- Dusk and dawn are when mosquitoes that carry the virus are most active, so limit outdoor activities or take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.
- DEET is an effective ingredient to look for in insect repellents. Always follow label instructions carefully.
- Dress in long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk or in areas where mosquitoes are active.
The Weld County Health Department says West Nile Virus symptoms may appear in 3–14 days after infection. Initial symptoms include fever, headache, nausea and vomiting, muscle aches and weakness and rash. Symptoms of severe illness include high fever, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, muscle weakness, vision loss, paralysis and even death.
About 75 percent of people who are infected have no symptoms, health officials said. About 25 percent will develop West Nile Fever.
As of June 17, there were no human cases of the virus reported in Colorado. Two cases have been reported in Mississippi so far this season.