West Nile Confirmed in Prowers County

First 2011 mosquito pool positive test for West Nile Confirmed for Prowers County


Lamar, CO– Prowers County Public Health officials have received lab confirmation of West Nile in a sample pool of mosquitoes collected on the night of August 21st.  This positive result is from a number of surveillance locations in and around the city. 

Steven Haynes, West Nile Surveillance Summer Intern for Prowers County Public Health and Environment (PCPHE), confirms that PCPHE began surveillance of mosquitoes in early June, and that this positive result is the first in a mosquito pool in our surveillance area.  Prowers County has not had a confirmed human case of the disease to date but according to Jacqueline Brown, Director of PCPHE, three of the four confirmed cases in Prowers County in 2010 occurred after September 1st 

West Nile Virus is carried by certain birds and transmitted to people by bites from mosquitoes that have fed on infected birds. Female Culex mosquitoes, the species that carries the virus, usually start emerging in late April or early May.  

Keith Siemsen, Manager of Environmental Health for PCPHE said, “Each season this virus will be present and circulating around the state. The severity of the season will depend on the weather.” Studies show that cool, wet weather in early spring followed by very hot temperatures throughout the summer could result in a bad year for mosquitoes. 

Siemsen added, “The good news is that West Nile virus is preventable, and now is the time to take precautions against the disease.”

Additional precautions to take against West Nile virus include:

  • DRAIN standing water around the house weekly since it’s where mosquitoes lay eggs, including: tires, cans, flowerpots, clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, toys and puddles.
  • DUSK & DAWN are when mosquitoes that carry the virus are most active, so limit outdoor activities or take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.
  • DEET is an effective ingredient to look for in insect repellents. Always follow label instructions carefully.
  • DRESS in long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk or in areas where mosquitoes are active.
  • For tanks and ponds use larvicides as directed, larvacides can be purchased at various retail centers in Prowers County


West Nile Virus has an incubation period of 3 days to two weeks. It can result in fever, meningitis and encephalitis, and have the potential for causing long-term illness and disability. The virus can affect any age group; however the chance that any one person is going to become ill from a single mosquito bite remains low. The risk of severe illness and death is highest for people over 50 years old, although people of all ages can become ill. Symptoms may include fever, fatigue, headache, muscle weakness, rash, stiff neck or changed mental state. If you have any of these symptoms please see your health care provider.

Just one mosquito bite can transmit West Nile virus or other diseases. To prevent illness from WNV and other mosquito-borne diseases, remember prevention is best when dealing with West Nile virus.  Fighting mosquito bites reduces your risk of getting this disease, along with others that mosquitoes can carry. 

Don’t let mosquitoes ruin your summer…. Keep insect repellent handy and get rid of mosquito breeding sites in the yard! 

For more information you can call Prowers County Public Health and Environment at 336-8721 or you can visit www.prowerscounty.net  or www.FightTheBiteColorado.com.CDC website www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile 


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