COLORADO (KREX) — Warm weather and water is home for skeeters, climate change is bringing both earlier. Deputy Branch Chief and Public Health Veterinarian Jennifer House says the state doesn’t usually see West Nile Virus s numbers until late June.
The transmission cycle starts when mosquitos bite infected birds.
“It incubates inside the mosquito for roughly a week before it bites a human and then when it bites a human, it can transmit the disease,” Deputy Branch Chief and Public Health Veterinarian Jennifer House informs.
Peak times for mosquito activity are dusk and dawn, but residents are advised to dump any standing water once a week.
“Anywhere that water might stand like old abandoned pots, flower pans;” Deputy House lists, “Make sure they are clean and they’re draining properly.”
People who get West Nile Virus are typically asymptomatic. The current chances are one in five that you may get symptoms of “West Nile Virus Fever”.
“Fever, aches, pains; in the majority of people, that’s what they will have,” Deputy House describes, “Although, it is severe. I’ve definitely heard people say it’s one of the worst fevers they’ve ever had.”
An infection can get severe and a person is more at risk if they have a pre-existing condition like diabetes or are older. 175 Coloradans contracted West Nile Virus last year and 11 people died — the highest number in 18 years.
“The virus moves into the brain and they can start experiencing some symptoms associated with brain swelling and that is severe in those individuals are usually hospitalized,” Deputy House elaborates.
What’s most important is for people to protect themselves at all costs.
“If you do get bitten by a mosquito, I recommend you monitor your health conditions for a week,” Deputy House advises, “If you do develop a fever, see your Health care provider and let them know that you’ve been bitten by a mosquito.”
Some of the best ways to avoid a bite is to use insect repellent, cover up your skin, and stay indoors.