West Nile virus detected in blood donor from Fort Collins

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. — A resident in southeast Fort Collins tested positive for West Nile virus after attempting to donate blood, the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment said Tuesday.

Blood donations that test positive for West Nile are discarded and not used for transfusions, officials said.

“Positive tests in blood donors provide timely warning of increasing West Nile risks to Larimer County residents,” the health department said.

West Nile virus is a viral infection that is spread to people by bites from infected Culex mosquitoes.

Symptoms can range from none to severe illness. Only about 25 percent of people infected will develop West Nile fever.

Less than 1 percent develop the more severe neuroinvasive form, which can lead to hospitalization, critical illness, chronic disability or even death.

The donor from Fort Collins does not have any symptoms, officials said.

Health experts recommend individuals use the “4 D’s” to help prevent West Nile virus disease.

  • DEET or other effective mosquito repellent – Use an EPA-registered mosquito repellent that has been proven to be effective against West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes.  DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (also called p-menthane-3,8-diol or PMD) and IR3535 are good choices.
  • Dusk to Dawn: Avoid exposure during peak Culex mosquito feeding times, from dusk through dawn.
  • Dress: Wear long sleeves and pants to keep mosquitoes from biting.
  • Drain: Remove standing water in your yard or garden to minimize mosquito breeding areas.