Boulder County Resident Ill from West Nile Virus

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Boulder County, Colo. - Boulder County Public Health has confirmed that a Boulder County resident has become ill from West Nile virus (WNV). The person reported symptoms of fever, chills, body aches, swollen lymph glands, and severe fatigue and is recovering at home.

"It’s easy to forget how dangerous West Nile virus can be,” said Jamie Feld, Boulder County Public Health epidemiologist. “While many people experience mild symptoms, the disease can cause serious or permanent health problems for some.”

The resident reported being bit by mosquitoes near their home in Niwot in the past two weeks.

“The weather conditions of rain followed by high temperatures create perfect breeding conditions for mosquitoes,” said Marshall Lipps, Boulder County Public Health environmental health specialist. “We encourage everyone, no matter where you live, to drain standing water around your home, avoid activity outdoors around dusk and dawn, and wear insect repellant and long sleeves and pants whenever you’re outdoors after dusk.”

WNV is transmitted to humans from the bite of an infected mosquito. While most infections are mild, the more serious infections can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and/or meningitis (inflammation of the brain's lining), loss of vision, paralysis, coma, tremors, convulsions, and death.

Symptoms of WNV include fever, extreme fatigue, headache, body aches, and occasionally can also include skin rashes and swollen lymph nodes. Generally, symptoms appear 3 to 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Anyone who experiences these symptoms should consult their health care providers.

There is no treatment, cure, or human vaccination for the virus. Health care providers can only treat the symptoms to help patients feel better and possibly recover more quickly.

Boulder County Public Health officials urge residents to take necessary precautions to protect themselves. Keep safe this summer, and remember the 4Ds:

  1. Use DEET-enhanced insect repellent or alternative.
  2. DRESS in long sleeves and pants.
  3. Avoid the outdoors from DUSK until DAWN.
  4. DRAIN standing water outside your home.

Generally, the mosquito season extends from late April until mid-October, with the end usually signaled by the first freeze in the fall.

This is the first human case of the disease in Boulder County this year and the third so far in Colorado. In 2013, there were 51 cases of the disease in Boulder County, and 322 cases in Colorado.

To date this season, positive mosquito pools have also been confirmed in Adams, Delta, Mesa, Pueblo, and Weld Counties, with two human cases of WNV being reported in the state.

As of July 15, WNV human infections have been reported in 13 other states this year, including Arizona, California, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

For more information about West Nile virus, mosquito activity in Boulder County, or proactive steps to take, visit or call the Colorado Health Information Line at 1-877-462-2911.

Chana Goussetis
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Boulder County Public Health

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