The Larimer County Department of Health received a report of the first hospitalized case of West Nile Virus in Larimer County this summer, as well as reports of West Nile infections in two blood donors without symptoms.

A Loveland resident was hospitalized with meningitis, which is a form of West Nile Virus.  Neuroinvasive forms of West Nile include meningitis, encephalitis, and paralysis. In addition to the Loveland resident, two Fort Collins residents who donated blood in July were discovered to have recent infections through testing the blood. The donated blood was discarded.

Spraying to reduce adult mosquitoes has already begun by some of Fort Collins’ homeowner associations, as well as city control efforts in Loveland, Windsor, Timnath and Johnstown.” Larimer County residents can check online to see weekly maps showing the number of Culex mosquitoes that were trapped in and around their neighborhoods in several urban areas of the county.

How to Prevent West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus can be prevented. In addition to community efforts, such as larviciding, reducing water where mosquitoes can breed, and spraying for adult mosquitoes, individuals can remember to use the 4 D’s to help prevent West Nile virus disease:

• DEET or other effective mosquito repellent - Use a mosquito repellent that has been proven to be effective against West Nile Virus-carrying mosquitoes.  DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (also called p-menthane-3,8-diol or PMD) and IR3535 are good choices.
• Dusk to Dawn - Avoid exposure during peak Culex mosquito feeding times, from dusk through dawn.
• Dress - Wear long sleeves and pants to keep mosquitoes from biting.
Drain - Remove standing water in your yard or garden to minimize breeding areas.