Longmont is latest city to test positive for West Nile virus, officials say

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Signs are posted as of June 17, 2014 in a Boulder County park advising that the mosquito pools have tested positive for the West Nile virus. (Photo: KDVR/Mark Meredith)

Signs were posted as of June 17, 2014 in a Boulder County park advising that mosquito pools have tested positive for the West Nile virus. (Photo: KDVR/Mark Meredith)

LONGMONT, Colo. -- Health officials in Boulder County announced Wednesday that mosquito traps at the Boulder County Fairgrounds have tested positive for West Nile virus. A mosquito pool also tested positive in traps at the St. Vrain Greenway at Emery Street in Longmont.

Five counties have now tested positive for West Nile virus including: one mosquito pool in Delta, two in Weld County, one in Mesa County and one in Adams.

In previous years, West Nile virus activity wasn't reported until July, the Weld County Health Department said. But, because of the recent mountain runoff and heavy rains, June has already yielded a high number of flood water mosquitoes.

“It is early for the mosquito traps to test positive for West Nile virus,” Weld County Health Department executive director Dr. Mark Wallace said.  “So it’s important for the public to take precautions against mosquito bites.”

The department's monitoring of mosquitoes started in early June with a series of traps set by Colorado Mosquito Control. The control center tested the Culex mosquito, the insect known to spread West Nile virus, to determine the risk to humans.

Boulder County officials confirmed on Tuesday that mosquitoes in a mosquito pool at Christensen Park near Kings Ridge Boulevard and 63rd Street have also tested positive for the West Nile virus.

According to Boulder County Public Health, there have been no human cases of WNV reported in Colorado as of June 17. Nationally, two cases have been reported in Mississippi so far this season.

The virus is carried in birds and transmitted by mosquitoes who bite infected birds. Mosquitoes can then spread the disease to humans and other animals. Symptoms can appear within three to 14 days after infection and may include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, weakness and rash.

Health officials offered the following recommendations to prevent mosquito bites and reduce breeding zones:

  • Apply an effective mosquito repellent to exposed skin and clothing.
  • Wear light colors and loose-fitting fabrics. Mosquitoes appear to be attracted to darker colors and can bite through tighter-fitting clothing.
  • Wear a hat to prevent bites on your head.
  • Drain any standing water, which can serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
  • If you have water you cannot drain, then use Mosquito Dunk (larvacide) to prevent breeding.
  • Avoid over watering lawns because mosquitoes can breed in very small amounts of water.

For more information, visit WeldHealth.org.