Boulder, Colo. – Boulder County Public Health (BCPH) has confirmed the first case of West Nile virus (WNV) in Colorado for the 2011 season.
A 47-year-old Longmont woman reported that she first became ill on July 4. She developed a severe head ache, body aches, and extreme fatigue. She was not hospitalized, and her symptoms have since improved.
“I hope this will remind people that although we don’t hear as much about West Nile virus as we used to, it’s still a risk,” said Murielle Romine, BCPH Communicable Disease Control program coordinator. “I cannot emphasize enough that we all still need to take steps to protect ourselves and our families.”
WNV is a disease that can be transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. While most infections are mild, the more serious infections can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and/or meningitis (inflammation of the brain's lining), loss of vision, paralysis, coma, tremors, convulsions, and death.
Symptoms of WNV include fever, extreme fatigue, headache, body aches, and occasionally can also include skin rashes and swollen lymph nodes. Generally, symptoms appear 3 to 14 days after being bitten by a mosquito. Persons who experience these symptoms should consult with their doctors or local community health clinics.
There is no treatment, cure, or human vaccination for WNV; health care providers can only treat the symptoms to help patients feel better and possibly recover more quickly.
Public health officials urge residents to take action to protect themselves by following ALL of the four Ds:
DEET – use DEET-enhanced insect repellant or an approved alternative.
Dress in long sleeves and pants.
Dusk to dawn – avoid the outdoors.
Drain standing water outside the home.
For more information about WNV, please visit the BCPH website at www.BoulderCountyMosquito.net.
A pre-recorded message for general information is also available at 303-441-1460. To ask specific questions, call the Colorado Health Information Line at 1-877-462-2911 (available in Spanish and English).