Colorado’s first 2017 human case of West Nile virus found in Larimer County

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. — The first human case of West Nile virus in the state this year has been found in Larimer County, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said Friday.

Testing for the virus began statewide June 12 to detect the risk of West Nile virus to humans.

“Not all counties and municipalities test mosquitoes, so it’s important for all Coloradans to take preventative steps throughout the summer,” the agency said in a news release.

“When the virus is present, people are at risk,” said Jennifer House, the state public health veterinarian. “Protecting yourself from mosquito bites is the No. 1 way to avoid getting any mosquito-borne illness.

“Use an effective insect repellent, wear protective clothing or stay indoors when mosquitoes are active, and mosquito-proof your home.”

There were 149 human cases of West Nile virus in Colorado last year, including eight deaths.

Most people with the virus don’t show symptoms, the health department said.

About 20 percent suffer flulike symptoms and fewer than 1 percent develop a serious and potentially deadly illness.

Those older than 60 years old and people with certain medical conditions are at greater risks of serious illness.