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Broomfield Has Its First Case of Human West Nile Virus This Year

September 24, 2018

Most people who are infected with West Nile Virus have no symptoms. Aproximately 1 percent develop serious neurologic illnesses, such as meningitis or encephalitis. The individual infected in Broomfield did not require hospitalization.

The first human case of West Nile virus for 2018 has been reported by Broomfield’s Public Health and Environment Division. After showing symptoms, the Broomfield resident was tested for the virus but was not hospitalized.

“As summer winds down, remember that mosquito season is not yet over,” said Jason Vahling, Broomfield Public Health Director. “Continue to make every effort to protect yourself from mosquitoes as you enjoy outdoor activities.”

Six cases have been reported in neighboring Weld County, five in Boulder County, four in Jefferson County and one in Adams County.

West Nile virus is primarily a disease of birds, spread by infected mosquitoes to people. It is not transferred from person-to-person. Fortunately, most people infected with West Nile Virus will have no symptoms. However, those who do develop symptoms will typically have fever, headache, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, and or muscle and joint pain.

Symptoms begin between two to 14 days after being bitten. People with milder symptoms typically recover on their own, although some symptoms may last for several weeks. A small number of people — less than 1 percent — will develop serious neurologic illnesses, such as meningitis or encephalitis.

While everyone is at risk of being infected, people over 60 years of age and with certain medical conditions are at greater risk for serious illness. For more information on symptoms and those at higher risk, visit broomfield.org/westnile .

As of Sept. 24, Colorado has reported 49 human cases of West Nile Virus. Last year, Broomfield had no reports of human cases, although there were 68 cases in Colorado. Most West Nile virus infections occur from June through September.

Public Health officials recommend following the Four D’s to prevent mosquito bites:

• Drain standing water around the house since that’s where mosquitoes breed. Be sure to empty old tires, cans, flower pots, clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, and toys where puddles can occur.

• Dusk and dawn are when mosquitoes that carry the virus are most active, so limit outdoor activities or take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.

• DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide the best protection. Follow label instructions.

• Dress in long sleeves and pants to keep mosquitoes from biting.

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