As summer draws to a close, the county health department reminds Coloradans to continue protecting themselves from mosquito bites to avoid the West Nile virus. There have been six human cases of the virus reported in Colorado so far this year, and mosquito pools in multiple counties have tested positive for the virus.
In Delta County, three pools tested positive for West Nile Virus from traps placed around the City of Delta this season. Positive tests were reported June 17, Aug. 1 and Aug. 21.
"The biggest months for human West Nile virus cases in Colorado are August and September," said Jennifer House, state public health veterinarian. "When vacations are over, and the kids go back to school, it's easy to forget mosquitoes are still out in force. We want to remind people to keep using insect repellent and other methods to avoid mosquito bites."
So far this year, Coloradans in Adams, Boulder, Jefferson, Morgan and Phillips counties have contracted the virus. One had West Nile fever, while the remaining five were hospitalized with a more severe form of the disease. There have been no deaths this season, and the six people are recovering. A number of other suspected cases are being investigated.
"The recent increase in reports indicates West Nile virus transmission to people is on the rise," House said. "Be vigilant in guarding against mosquito bites."
In addition to the human cases, two horses and 12 birds have been identified with the virus. The animal cases were in Larimer and Weld counties.
Mosquito pools in Adams, Alamosa, Arapahoe, Boulder, Delta, Denver, Jefferson, Larimer, Mesa and Weld counties have tested positive for West Nile virus this year. Since not all counties and municipalities test for mosquitoes, it's important for all Coloradans to continue to take steps to prevent West Nile virus.
To protect yourself:
• Use insect repellents when you go outdoors. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide the best protection. Follow label instructions.
• Limit outdoor activities at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus are most active.
• Wear protective clothing (long pants, long-sleeved shirts and socks) in areas where mosquitoes are active. Spray clothes with insect repellent for extra protection.
• Drain standing water around your house often.
Most people who are infected with West Nile virus don't have symptoms. About 20 percent have flu-like symptoms, and less than one percent develop a serious, potentially deadly illness. People over age 60 and those with certain medical conditions are at greater risk of serious illness. During the 2016 season, eight people died from West Nile virus. See a health care provider if you have mosquito bites and develop severe headaches or confusion.
For more information, visit the department's West Nile virus web page<https://www.colo
rado.gov/pacific/cdphe/west-nile-virus>. Check for human case numbers and mosquito trap results on the West Nile virus data page<https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/west-nile-virus-data>.
The election results are in at the local, state and national level, and as expected, Democrats are doing well in state and national races. Colorado has elected Jared Polis as governor; nationally the Republicans appear to retain control of the Senate while Democrats now control the House of Representative.
With a ballot full of local and state measures, voter turnout in Delta County topped 71%, with 15,889 ballots cast. Statewide, voter turnout was just over 52%.
Of the three Delta County residents seeking state offices, Matt Soper won over Thea Chase in State Representative Dist. 54; Mike Mason lost to Julie McCluskie in State Representative Dist. 61; and Olen Lund lost to Kerry Donovan in State Senate Dist. 5.
Locally, in the City of Delta voters rejected a .5% sales tax increase to fund recreation, as well as recreational marijuana sales. The sale of medical marijuana and cultivation/manufacturing facilities was approved by a slim margin. Delta voters also gave the city the green light to move forward with selling or trading the Cottonwood and Riverbend Park, and to sell the old Municipal Light and Power Building.