Weld County reports 1st West Nile Virus death this mosquito season

Published on September 22, 2022

Culex mosquito bite

Weld County, Colorado — The Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment (WCDPHE) has the first confirmed death during the 2022 mosquito season of a Weld County resident. The 80-year-old resident, who had been hospitalized, died from neuroinvasive West Nile Virus (WNV).

“West Nile Virus symptoms can appear 2-14 days after an infection,” said Val Smith, Communicable Disease Program Manager at WCDPHE. “Although 80% of infected people do not develop symptoms, for some, initial symptoms can include fever plus headache, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, joint pain, weakness, and a rash. If a person develops symptoms after being bitten by mosquitoes, they should see a health care professional immediately.”

Health officials remind residents that there are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent WNV infection. Less than 1% of infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neuroinvasive illness.

“Your best defense against West Nile Virus is to follow the 4 Ds: drain standing water around your home; at dusk and dawn, when culex mosquitoes are most active, limit outdoor activities and dress in long sleeves and pants; and follow instructions carefully for insect repellants that possibly contain DEET,” Smith said. “With the colder weather just around the corner, the first frost will knock out many mosquitoes.”

To date, 20 Weld County residents have tested positive for WNV. The residents who tested positive are not just from one area, rather they represent a wide geographical area for WNV infection. “WNV is endemic in Colorado — meaning you can get the virus any place that infected mosquitoes live and breed,” Smith said.

WNV data for Weld County are provided weekly on the Zoonotic Disease Seasonal Updates webpage.

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