First Human Case of West Nile Virus in Mesa County Confirmed
KREX News Room
MESA COUNTY, Colo.- The West Nile virus has already infected people in Delta, Montrose and Fremont counties. Mesa County is now the latest county to be added to the list in 2012.
The Mesa County Health Department has confirmed the first positive human case in a woman.
Karen Martsolf with the Mesa County Health Department said, "West Nile is here in our community and it's important for people to take precautionary measures."
The early spring caused an increase in the type of mosquitoes that carry the virus.
Zane McCallister, manager of the Grand River Mosquito Control District, said, "The Culex mosquitoes were out running around trying to lay their first eggs in March, so they had a full month, month and a half, early start."
Health officials have been warning community members about protecting themselves from mosquito bites, and are doing so even more now. "Using an insect repellent with an ingredient, either DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus," Martsolf said.
People should also know that the virus can be more harmful to certain groups. "Very young kids and the elderly in our communities tend to suffer the symptoms of West Nile virus more severely than people that don't have compromised immune systems," said McCallister.
You can help protect your family by taking action inside and outside. McCallister said, "A bird bath, a kiddie pool, trash can or wheelbarrow. If any of those things are hanging out in your yard right now, dump them out."
"Long-sleeved shirts and pants, along with that insect repellent," said Martsolf.
McCallister also said, "If you have an open window, make sure there's a screen on it. Perhaps the best mosquito control you can do is at the point of entry."
The mosquitoes aren’t going away anytime soon. In the meantime, experts say staying calm and protecting yourself is the best way to fight back.