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Longmont man confirmed as first 2022 human case of West Nile virus in Boulder County

Mosquitoes in Longmont test positive for West Nile Virus
Posted at 12:12 PM, Aug 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-19 14:12:50-04

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — A Longmont man has been confirmed as Boulder County’s first human case of West Nile virus in 2022.

The man, who is over the age of 65, was diagnosed after experiencing symptoms of fever, chills, abdominal pain and body aches, as well as stiffness and pain in his joints, according to Boulder County Public Health.

This marks the fifth human case of West Nile virus across the state this year, with three of the cases being considered neuroinvasive and three requiring hospitalization, according to data collected by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The first human case of the year was reported in Delta County earlier this month. No one in Colorado has died from West Nile virus this year.

Health officials have confirmed mosquitos have tested positive for the virus in Boulder, Larimer, Weld and Adams counties so far this season.

Most cases of the virus are mild, though serious cases can cause encephalitis — inflammation of the brain — meningitis — inflammation of the brain’s lining — loss of vision, paralysis, coma, tremors, convulsions and death.

Symptoms — which include fever, extreme fatigue, headache, body aches, skin rashes and swollen lymph nodes — typically appear 3 to 14 days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito.

People who are over 50 years old or have a weakened immune system have a higher likelihood of developing serious illness, though everyone is at risk of being infected, BCPH said. There is no treatment, cure or human vaccination for West Nile virus, but health care providers can treat patients for symptoms to make them feel better and recover more quickly, according to BCPH.

Most West Nile virus cases are diagnosed in August and September in Colorado, though cases can be identified as early as May and as late as December, BCPH said. Mosquito season typically lasts from late April until mid-October and ends with the first freeze in the fall.

BCPH urged residents to take safety precautions against West Nile virus, including using insect repellant that contains DEET, wearing long sleeves and pants, avoiding the outdoors from dusk until dawn and to draining any standing water near the home.