West Nile Virus detected in Weld County mosquitoes

A culex tarsalis female mosquito that was caught in a trap will be tested for the presence of the West Nile Virus. (Photo by Jeff Topping/Getty Images)

WELD COUNTY, Colo. — Mosquitoes in the Greeley and Evans areas are testing positive for West Nile Virus and may pose a threat to humans in the near future, according to the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment.

While no cases in humans have yet been reported, the species carrying the virus continues to grow as seasonal changes make the area more mosquito friendly.

“Our hot and humid August weather, followed by afternoon thunderstorms, creates the perfect conditions for the Culex mosquito,” said Mark E. Wallace, Executive Director of the Weld County Health Department.

He urges people to avoid getting bit by mosquitoes and if you do happen to contract the virus, it can take between three to 14 days for symptoms to emerge.

Symptoms can include fever, headache, nausea and vomiting, muscle aches and weakness and rash, but most infected people don’t exhibit any symptoms.

There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent WNV infection and less than one percent of infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neuro-invasive illness.

If you believe you have contracted the virus, seek medical help immediately.

To prevent mosquito bites, officials offer the four “D'” to help keep the insects at bay:

  • DRAIN standing water around your house weekly. Remember to drain water from tires, cans, flowerpots, clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, toys and puddles.
  • DUSK and DAWN are when mosquitoes are most active. Limit outdoor activities and take precautions to prevent mosquito bites during these times.
  • DEET is an effective ingredient to look for in insect repellents. Other repellents containing picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol are also effective against mosquitoes.
  • DRESS in long sleeves and pants where mosquitoes are active.
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