It’s seems Choice City’s mosquitoes have passed: a West Nile test, that is.
Testing last week revealed that mosquitoes in southeastern Fort Collins were positive for West Nile virus, according to the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment.
Health department officials are labeling heat as the culprit behind the influx in Culex mosquitoes — those that carry the virus — and say the next six weeks will likely bring more.
A greater presence of the bloodsuckers means an increase in the likelihood of transmission of West Nile to a human.
Because of that, residents are encouraged to wear repellent between dusk and dawn, when the blood thirsty Culex are most active.
After a person is bitten by an infected mosquito, it often takes three to four weeks for the individual to show symptoms of the virus.
Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms that include: – Fever, – headache, – body aches, – nausea, – vomiting, and, – sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back, according to the City of Fort Collins website.
About one in 150 people will develop severe illness, characterized by: high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis, according to the same site.
Through July 26, the health department has received notice of six human cases of West Nile virus in Larimer, Moffat, Prowers, Pueblo, Sedgwick and Weld Counties.
People 50 and over, solid organ transplant recipients and people with weakened immune systems are at an increased risk of serious illness, according to a health department press release. All people, regardless of physical condition, however, are at risk when not adequately protected when bitten by an infected mosquito.
Refer to the list of preventative steps issued by the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment published online with this story.
For more information about West Nile and how to protect yourself against it, visit these sites:
For more tips on what you can do to prevent West Nile virus, or on repellent use, visit: www.Larimer.org/health or call 970-498-6700. For general virus information: www.fcgov.com/westnile.
For information on repellent use, go to www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/RepellentUpdates.htm Check out the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s West Nile virus info at www.fightthebitecolorado.com/.
The surest way to prevent getting West Nile virus is to avoid mosquito bites. Preventive steps you can take include:
* Use a mosquito repellent that has been proven to be effective against West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes. Ones that contain DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (with active ingredient PMD, or p-menthane diol) or IR3535 are good choices.
* Use mosquito netting over baby carriers and strollers.
* Keep exposed skin covered or use a repellent when out at prime Culex mosquito-biting hours, between dusk and dawn.
* Use a powerful fan while sitting on your deck or patio to keep mosquitoes away.
* Drain standing water in your yard or in your garden.
* Add mosquito-eating minnows or mosquito â€œdunksâ€ to ornamental ponds with still water.
* Keep window screens repaired.
(Courtesy of the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment)