Montrose County Records First West Nile Virus Case of the Season
Montrose, CO— Montrose County Public Health confirmed its first case of West Nile Virus for the season in a male in his 50s. West Nile Virus is most commonly spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. In 2022, Montrose County reported 38 cases of West Nile Virus and of those, 27 were hospitalized.
“Now is the time to continue to stay watchful and prepared,” said Montrose County Public Health Director Jim Austin. “Despite the cooler evening temperatures, mosquitoes are still a concern. Simple steps such as wearing an effective insect repellent, wearing protecting or long-sleeve clothing, mosquito-proofing your home, and possibly staying indoors when mosquitoes are most active are key to helping avoid West Nile Virus.”
In Colorado, most human West Nile virus cases are reported in August and September.
Most people infected with West Nile virus don’t have symptoms. About 20% of infected people will have flu-like symptoms, and fewer than 1% develop a serious, potentially deadly illness. People over age 60 and those with certain medical conditions are at greater risk of serious illness. See a health care provider if you develop severe headaches or confusion.
Due to the cases reported last year, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Montrose County Public Health urge community members to protect themselves. Stated below are precautions to take this summer while outside and in areas where mosquitoes are active.
To protect yourself:
- Use insect repellents when you go outdoors. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus, and para-menthane-diol products provide the best protection. Follow label instructions.
- Limit outdoor activities at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus are most active.
- Wear protective clothing (long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and socks) in areas where mosquitoes are active. Spray clothes with insect repellent for extra protection.
To mosquito-proof your home:
- Drain standing water around your house at least once every week. Empty water from tires, cans, flowerpots, clogged gutters, rain barrels, birdbaths, toys, and puddles.
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors.
- Replace outdoor lights with yellow “bug lights”. These attract fewer mosquitoes. These do not repel mosquitoes, just limit the amount.
- For more information, visit the department’s West Nile virus web page.