ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Adams County reported its first human death of the year due to the West Nile Virus on Thursday.

This latest death brings the total number of deaths in the state to three.

The virus is spread by mosquitos and experts said this West Nile season has peaked earlier than the last five.

Their sting can be itchy but they’ve been more than just an itch for some Coloradans this mosquito season.

“Thirty-nine individuals in the state that have gotten sick with the virus,” Dr. Jennifer House, with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said.

“Of those, unfortunately, three of them have already died from the illness,” House said.

This year’s West Nile virus numbers, House said, have peaked much quicker than in years past.

“Normally, our highest case counts are coming in right around Labor Day weekend, but we’ve already started seeing very high case counts in the middle of August,” House said.

In fact, in 2022, those numbers have increased a level higher, earlier than in the last five years.

The West Nile virus has proven deadly in three cases, two in western Colorado and one in the Denver metro area.

Most cases are mild, according to House, resulting in a fever and some pains.

“It takes roughly a week from the time that you’re bitten from the mosquito until you develop symptoms,” House said.

It takes a week, according to House, for mosquitos to fully mature in just about any sized body of water that could be anywhere outside your home.

“As long as you’re dumping that water on a weekly basis, you’re actually preventing adult mosquitos from developing,” House said.

Experts said you want to cover as much of your body as you can if you have to be outside to avoid getting stung by mosquitos and risking West Nile virus infection.

Heat is a factor in early West Nile virus season

There’s no doubt it has been a hot summer in metro Denver, but it turns out that summer is the third warmest on record in the city.

The higher temperatures contribute to the longer mating season for mosquitoes. The insects breed in and around water and damp areas.

With higher temperatures expected to stick around through the beginning of September, mosquitoes will continue to be an issue until it cools down.