The five D’s of protecting against mosquito bites
— Use DEET enhanced insect repellent or an alternative
— DRESS in long sleeves and long pants and socks in areas where mosquitoes are active. Spray clothes with insect repellent for extra protection
— Avoid the outdoors from DUSK until DAWN
— DRAIN standing water outside your home. Empty water from tires, cans, flower pots, clogged gutters, rain barrels, bird baths, toys and puddles
State and local officials are cautioning Coloradans to take steps to avoid mosquito bites and protect themselves against the West Nile virus.
Colorado’s first 2017 case of West Nile virus has been recorded in Jefferson County, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported on Friday, and West Nile virus-bearing mosquitoes have been found in Larimer County.
Longmont city officials noted last week that the mosquito carrying the virus was found in the Berthoud area and confirmed by Larimer County health officials on June 26.
Based on last weekend’s results of trapping mosquitoes at Longmont locations, spraying in four neighborhoods is now scheduled for Thursday night, weather permitting, city officials said.
Those include: the Jim Hamm area between Ute Creek Drive and East County Line Road; an area southeast of Great Western Drive and Colo. 119; an area southwest of Colo. 119 and East County Line Road, and an area southeast of Grandview Meadows Drive and Nelson Road.
Each week, if Longmont and the city’s contractor, Vector Disease Control International, determine that fogging is needed to kill mosquitoes in particular areas, an advance notice will be posted on the city’s website and its social media sites and in a notification advertisement in the Times-Call.
Boulder County Public Health spokesman Phillip Lucas said, “We’re seeing higher than normal nuisance mosquito counts” in traps in various areas of the county, but that the Culex species carrying the virus being found in those traps are at about average levels for this point in the summer season.
The West Nile virus is transmitted to humans from the bite of an infected Culex mosquito. Health officials have said that while most infections are mild, the more serious infections can cause encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, and meningitis, inflammation of the brain lining. It can also led to loss of vision, paralysis, coma, tremors, convulsions and death.
West Nile virus symptoms include fever, extreme fatigue, headaches and body aches and can also include rashes and swollen lymph nodes. Symptoms generally appear three to 14 days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito.
People over age 60 and those with certain medical conditions are at greater risk of serious illness, and people should see a health care provider if they develop symptoms, including severe headaches or confusion, according to state health officials.
“When the virus is present, people are at risk,” said state public health veterinarian Jennifer House.
“Protecting yourself from mosquito bites is the No. 1 way to avoid getting any mosquito-borne illness,” House said. “Use an effective insect repellent, wear protective clothing or stay indoors when mosquitoes are active, and mosquito-proof your home.”
In 2016, there were 149 human cases of West Nile virus in Colorado, including eight deaths, according to the state health department. Lucas said 23 of last year’s human cases, and two of the fatalities, were Boulder County cases.
Longmont has posted area maps on its West Nile information web page, LongmontColorado.gov/westnile, that show the boundaries of predetermined areas where spraying may occur. When mosquito traps exceed a 100-count threshold and mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus have been detected in the Longmont area, an alert will be sent to people who have asked to for such notifications in advance.
Longmont residents seeking such notifications can enter their contact notifications on the city’s e-notification subscription website, bit.ly/2tjjpjy
Vector Disease Control International maintains a database of residents who want to have their properties excluded from the fogging operations, or to be notified in advance of the spraying, or both. People can fill out an online request form at vdci.net/Colorado#3, or can email the company at firstname.lastname@example.org.
People can also be notified of the company’s spraying schedule by calling Vector Disease Control International at 970-962-2582.
Boulder County Public Health information about mosquitoes and West Nile virus can be viewed at BoulderCountymosquito.net. The state health department’s West Nile virus web page: bit.ly/2cLnhmZ