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Like Fire Season, West Nile Virus Season Also Starts Early

John Tann
Flickr – Creative Commons

West Nile Virus has been found in trapped Culex mosquitoes in Delta, Larimer, and Weld counties.

Typically, infected mosquitoes don’t emerge in Colorado until at least mid July, says Jane Viste of the Larimer County Health Department.

“It’s time to start using repellant and be careful, and try to prevent yourself from being bit, because they are here,” says Viste.

Current dry conditions can minimize the amount of standing water for mosquitoes to breed in, limiting the spread of the virus. But Viste says that’s no guarantee that it won’t be a difficult season.

“There have been outbreaks of West Nile Virus infection during drought times… it can show up no matter what the weather conditions.”

Despite the premature arrival, no human cases have yet been reported. Mosquitoes pass West Nile Virus to humans after picking the virus up from birds. Most people who become infected have no symptoms, or have mild, flu-like symptoms.

I am covering science stories at KUNC this summer as a AAAS Mass Media Fellow, a program that matches scientists with news outlets so that they can try their hand at translating science to regular folks. My normal day job is as a graduate student at Yale University, doing immunology research with Dr. David Schatz. Previously, I graduated from Haverford College, majoring in English and biology.
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