First 2013 Human West Nile Case Registered in Prowers County


First 2013 Human case of West Nile In Prowers County  

Lamar, CO– Prowers County Public Health and Environment (PCPHE) officials received word on August 6th of the determination by of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment of the first human case of West Nile Virus in Prowers County.   Recently West Nile Virus was confirmed in mosquitoes from pools of samples collected during the weeks of July 15 and July 22.  As of August 2nd, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment listed a total of 4 human cases in 2 counties in Colorado.  

According to Tammie Clark, RN BSN Interim Director of PCPHE,” there was one confirmed human case in Prowers County in 2012, no confirmed cases in 2011, and four confirmed cases in Prowers County in 2010.  (Note that one of those confirmed cases in 2010 resulted in a death).  Due to the public health significance of West Nile Virus, PCPHE is urging citizens to increase their focus towards preventative measures in their daily activities.” 

With the recent rains and increase of precipitation, the chance for mosquitoes to breed has increased. 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. 

West Nile Virus has an incubation period of 3 days to two weeks. Most people will not normally know that they have been infected by West Nile virus even if they contract it from an infected mosquito. It can result in fever, meningitis and encephalitis, and has 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. 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.  

Keith Siemsen, Manager of Environmental Health for PCPHE, 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. 

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 summer and fall……. Keep insect repellent handy and get rid of mosquito breeding sites around your property! 

For more information you can call Prowers County Public Health and Environment at 336-8721 or you can visit,, or the   CDC website  

Tammie Clark RN BSN
Interim Director
Prowers County Public Health and Environment
1001 South Main
Lamar, CO 81052

For Immediate Release August 7, 2013

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Filed Under: CitycommunityCountyEducationEnvironmentFeaturedGranadaHealthHollyLamarProwers CountyPublic SafetyThe Journal AlertWeatherWiley


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