DENVER (KDVR) — A man has died from West Nile virus in Weld County, marking the first human death of the mosquito-borne disease this year in Colorado.
The man was 53 years old, and the virus caused a neuroinvasive disease that killed him, according to the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment.
Eric Aakko, the county health department spokesperson, told FOX31 that “they did seek medical care but they still ended up passing, unfortunately.”
Weld County said they are investigating eight separate cases of West Nile virus, all of which are in residents representing a wide geographical area — they are not all near each other.
Aakko said health officials are anticipating an increased number of cases in humans this year as the number of mosquitoes testing positive for the virus is high compared to previous years.
“With so many cases of West Nile virus appearing in the culex mosquito, we’re not surprised, and that’s why we really encourage the public to take it seriously and try to prevent getting bit by mosquitoes,” he said. “This person was middle-aged, so that is concerning, but at the same time you just need to take the precautions.“
Aakko recommends wearing bug spray, long sleeves and pants when going outdoors around dusk and dawn, as the mosquitoes are most active during those times.
Emptying out standing water eliminates breeding grounds and can help keep the mosquito population down on your property.
He also said keeping your immune system strong and practicing healthy habits can help decrease the chances of severe symptoms if West Nile virus is contracted.