First 2012 Human Case of West Nile in Prowers County

Lamar, CO– Prowers County Public Health and Environment officials have received word of the determination by of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment of the first human case of West Nile Virus in the county. In 2012 Prowers County only recently had West Nile Virus confirmed in mosquitoes from a pool of samples collected in late August. As of September 19th, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment listed a total of 75 human cases across 17 counties in Colorado with two deaths reported from Montrose County.

According to Keith Siemsen, Manager of Environmental Health for PCPHE, there were no confirmed human cases in Prowers County in 2011 and three of the four confirmed cases in Prowers County in 2010 occurred after September 1st. (Note that one of those confirmed cases in 2010 resulted in a death). Due to the severity of the current outbreak, and fact that recent data shows the number of cases increasing significantly across the U.S., PCPHE is urging citizens to increase their focus towards preventative measures in their daily activities.

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.

Siemsen adds, “Each season this virus will be present and circulating around the state. The severity of the season will depend on the weather. But 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 the best method. Fighting mosquito bites reduces the risk of getting this disease, along with others that mosquitoes can carry.

Don’t let mosquitoes ruin your fall…. 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 or CDC website

Filed Under: AgriculturecommunityCountyFeaturedGranadaHealthHollyLamarPublic SafetyThe Journal AlertWiley


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