Virus found on campus

 Uncategorized
Jul 292003
 
Authors: Colleen Buhrer

The numbers of dead birds and other animals are increasing, the first human may have contracted the virus and the CSU campus has found its first infected bird, signaling that West Nile Virus is in full force in Larimer County.

On July 22 a 31-year-old male from Loveland, working in the Fort Collins area, was reported as the “first probable human case of West Nile Virus infection in Larimer County,” according to a press release.

The test has not been confirmed by the Department of Public Health and Environment’s lab, but it is likely the tests will confirm that he has been infected, the press release said.

He first became sick on July 6 after reporting having multiple mosquito bites. He had severe headache, back ache, eye pain and a rash on his back and chest. He was not hospitalized.

The first dead bird infected with the West Nile Virus on the CSU campus was reported Friday. The magpie was found near the Statistics Building, according to Earlie Thomas, director of CSU Environmental Health Services.

There are about five more birds currently being tested, he said. CSU has been sending birds in for testing since the first cases arrived in Colorado in 2002 and this was the first positive.

The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment has recommended that a mosquito control program be implemented. Loveland is the only city in Larimer County with a mosquito control program. Fort Collins is working out the details to implement a program, said Ann Watson, health education supervisor for the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment.

A mosquito control program involves “applying a biological agent to storm water catch basins along city and county streets and roads where there is urban density development,” according to a press release.

“(Citizens) should pay attention to protecting themselves with repellent,” Watson said. “Twenty percent of people who become infected will have symptoms.”

These symptoms are flu-like such as fever and muscle aches, she said.

A “tremendous” amount of birds are being turned in for testing, Watson said. So much so that residents in the middle of Fort Collins are being asked to stop bringing in birds. They have acquired enough information from that area.

Birds are still needed from areas north of Trilby (County Road 34), east of Zigler (County Road 9), west of Taft Hill Rd. (County Road 19) and north of Douglas Rd. (County Road 54).

Thus far, 32 birds and one horse have tested positive for West Nile Virus in Larimer County, Watson said.

Thomas welcomes anyone with questions or concerns to call the CSU Environmental Health Services at 491-6745.

Outbox:

Ways to protect from mosquito bites:

* Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn

* If outside during dusk and dawn, cover up with long-sleeved shirts, pants, shoes and socks

* Use mosquito repellents with DEET

* Eliminate standing water in tires or similar water-holding containers as these may serve as mosquito breeding sites.

Source: Larimer County Department of Health and Environment press release

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