West Nile virus

West Nile virus cases are on the rise. Delta Memorial Hospital is prepared for such cases.

The Delta County Department of Health announced six additional cases of West Nile virus in a statement on Sept. 30, one of which led to the first death caused by the virus in Delta County this year. The statement states the victim who died was a female from the Surface Creek area who had been diagnosed Sept. 11. The total number of confirmed West Nile cases is up to 26 in the county for the year.

“The presence of additional cases is a clear indication that West Nile virus remains present and poses a risk to those who are bitten,” the press release stated. “August through September are when most human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Colorado.”

Out of the 26 cases, 17 of the cases have been of uncomplicated fever, six of the cases have been cases of West Nile virus encephalitis, two cases have been of meningitis and one case led to loss of life.

The cases of encephalitis and meningitis can potentially have prolonged recovery times and involve rehab.

At 26 cases this year, the number of recorded West Nile cases is more than triple the amount of confirmed cases last year, which topped out at eight. This year is also only five cases away from hitting 31, which is the highest known number of cases to be recorded in Delta County.

The Department of Health advises everyone to drain standing water on their property, avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn if at all possible, use mosquito repellents that contain deet, dress in long sleeves and pants during dusk and dawn in areas where mosquitoes are active, and screen the windows of homes to keep mosquitoes out.

Anyone who wants additional information on any of the 20 cases can visit the Delta County website, deltacounty.com. Also, anyone who wants more information on West Nile and precautions to avoid it can visit fightthebitecolorado.com.

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