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August 21, 2020

Boulder County resident hospitalized with West Nile virus

The virus is transmitted to humans from the bite of an infected mosquito

Boulder County, CO - Boulder County Public Health has confirmed that a City of Boulder resident has contracted West Nile virus. The resident, who is in their 70s, reported extensive gardening in their backyard and multiple mosquito bites while gardening. They are currently hospitalized with meningitis. This is the second person in the state to test positive for the virus.

Symptoms of West Nile virus will typically include fever, extreme fatigue, headache, body aches, but can occasionally also include skin rashes and swollen lymph nodes. Symptoms generally appear 3-14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

West Nile virus 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.

While everyone is at risk of being infected with West Nile virus, those over the age of 50 or with weakened immune systems are at greater risk of developing serious illness. Anyone who experiences these symptoms should consult their health care provider. There is no treatment, cure, or human vaccination for the virus, but health care providers can treat symptoms to help patients feel better and possibly recover more quickly.

In Colorado, most West Nile virus cases are diagnosed in August and September, but cases can be identified as early as May and as late as December. Generally, the mosquito season extends from late April until mid-October, with the end usually signaled by the first freeze in the fall.

"This time of year is when we see the most people become ill from the disease,” said Heather Marshall, Boulder County Public Health epidemiologist. “We all need to continue to be diligent about protecting ourselves from mosquito bites.”

Boulder County Public Health officials urge residents to 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.

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

-BoulderCountyHealth.org-