First 2 cases of West Nile reported

The Mesa County Health Department on Thursday confirmed the first two human cases of West Nile virus this year.

Health Department spokeswoman Tamara Capp said two men in their late 30s were diagnosed with West Nile fever. They were not hospitalized.

Two cases of West Nile virus, one of which resulted in death, were reported in Mesa County last year. No cases of West Nile were reported in 2008.

Capp said the time of peak transmission of the virus is now.

“What we want to get across to the public is they need to take proactive, preventative measures (to protect themselves),” Capp said.

Health officials recommend the following measures:

Use insect repellent that contains DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Capp said DEET is safe for children over the age of 2 months, and there’s no reason to use a repellent that contains more than 35 percent DEET.

Dress in long sleeves and pants in areas where mosquitoes are active.

Drain standing water on property.

Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

Health officials estimate one in five people who become infected with West Nile virus will develop West Nile fever. Symptoms include a fever, headache, tiredness, body aches and swollen lymph glands. One in 150 people infected will develop a more severe form of disease such as encephalitis or meningitis.


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