While mosquito season is just about over for Colorado, it was a busy one for communities across the state, including Delta County, which reported its 29th case of West Nile Virus this week. Two of the 29 cases out of Delta County were fatal. They were diagnosed on Sept. 10 and 11.
"The message is for Delta County residents to protect themselves," Delta County Environmental Health Director Ken Nordstrom said. "The virus is circulating. People really need to be careful."
"We've had as low as zero cases some years and as many as 30 cases in a year," he added
Amanda Mayle with Mesa County Public Health said Mesa County reported six West Nile Virus cases this year.
In 2018, there were two cases reported and zero cases reported in both 2016 and 2017.
"It's something that is in the community," she added.
She said the number of Culex mosquitoes, the type of mosquito known to carry West Nile, increased this summer, particularly over the last couple of months. "When we see those mosquitoes more prevalent, that's when we see more cases," she said.
Though the mosquitoes have been active this season, that could end this week with the arrival of a strong cold front.
In late June, Mesa County Public Health reported a spike in Culex mosquito counts at traps throughout Mesa County. By early July, 2,374 Culex mosquitoes were trapped in Mesa County, more than double the 5-year average for that same time period.
Mosquito season in Mesa County, which typically runs from April through September, saw more than 50,000 mosquitoes collected from 83 traps in the Grand River Mosquito Control District.
The 2019 trap counts were 20% higher than the previous 5-year average.
According to Mesa County Public Health, those at risk of serious illness include adults older than 65, people with chronic medical conditions and people with a history of alcohol abuse.
Those that become ill are advised to rest and stay hydrated and if symptoms worsen to contact their medical provider.
Though many individuals have been reported to have no symptoms with the virus, symptoms can include fever, headache, body aches, vomiting and more. Some may develop symptoms three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. About one-in-five of the infected persons will have mild symptoms with a fever, while 1 in 150 infected will become severely ill.