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West Nile virus appears in two counties in northeastern Colorado – Sterling Journal-Advocate

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The Department of Health in northeastern Colorado reported on Tuesday that cases of West Nile virus were increasing in health districts in six counties.

According to a release published Tuesday afternoon, there are two cases in Yuma County and one in Phillips County. Additional cases may be identified until the investigation is complete.

West Nile virus is the leading cause of mosquito-borne diseases in the United States and spreads to people by being bitten by infected mosquitoes. Mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus are most active in August and September, but remain active until the first few hard freezes due to the warm, unseasonable climate.

There is no human vaccine to prevent West Nile virus, and no specific drug to treat the disease. Fortunately, most infected people do not feel sick, and most infected people do not develop serious symptoms. About 1 in 5 infected people may have a fever and may have other symptoms such as headache, body aches, arthralgias, vomiting, diarrhea, and a rash.

Most people who show symptoms such as fever recover completely. However, in rare cases, the virus can cause serious brain infections such as meningitis and encephalitis. These infections begin suddenly with high fever and headaches and can progress to stiff shoulders, disorientation, tremors, and coma. Severe infections can lead to permanent brain damage or death.

The most effective way to avoid West Nile virus disease is to avoid mosquito bites. If you follow the four Ds, you will be protected from infection.

Dusk / Dawn – Mosquitoes are most active during this time and stay indoors if possible.

Clothes – Wear long-sleeved shirts and long trousers to avoid mosquito bites.

DEET – Outdoors, preferably use DEET as an ingredient and use repellents.

Drainage – Removes water that collects around the house.

If you are or are likely to be infected with the West Nile virus, you should contact your healthcare professional as soon as possible.

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