5:35am

Mon May 30, 2011
Public Health

Warm Weather Brings Mosquitoes, West Nile Virus Risk to Colorado

As temperatures heat up, public health officials are warning Coloradans to take preventive steps against mosquito bites, which could lead to West Nile Virus.

Last year, there were 81 reported human cases, with large concentrations in Weld, Larimer and Mesa counties.

 

Roger Nasci is Chief of the Arboviral Diseases Branch at the Centers for Disease Control.

“The range of symptoms can go from relatively mild to quite severe,” he says. “So you could miss two to three weeks of work. You could end up in the hospital. You could have a prolonged recovery period, which has happened with some people where there can be months of a fairly profound malaise.”

Nasci says it’s difficult to predict the number of cases Colorado will see this year because the conditions that increase the risk of West Nile Virus—heat, rain and spring runoff—will fluctuate.

Most cities and counties monitor and spray for mosquitoes that carry the virus. But at least one spray program in Jefferson County is being cut this year due to budget constraints.