DENVER – Colorado health officials are urging continued vigilance against the potentially deadly West Nile virus as summer draws to a close.
The biggest months for human West Nile virus cases in Colorado are August and September, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
“When vacations are over, and the kids go back to school, it’s easy to forget mosquitoes are still out in force,” said Jennifer House, state public health veterinarian. “We want to remind people to keep using insect repellent and other methods to avoid mosquito bites.”
Although no deaths have been reported so far this season, six human cases of the virus, five of which were considered severe, have afflicted people in Adams, Boulder, Jefferson, Morgan and Phillips counties. During the 2016 season, eight people died from the virus.
The CDPHE offered the following tips on ways to protect yourself from infection:
- 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.