Colo. worried about bad West Nile year
DENVER ” Amid signs this could be a bad year for West Nile virus in Colorado, health officials on Friday reported the third human case of the disease in the state this season.
The latest victim is a Boulder County resident, but state officials released no specifics. The Camera newspaper reported on its Web site the victim is a 54-year-old man who lives in the east part of the county.
“Based on the surveillance data from around the state, the indicators are suggesting that we’re heading into a high-risk year,” said John Pape, an epidemiologist with the state Department of Public Heath and Environment.
The number of Culex mosquitoes, which transmit the disease, is “extremely high for this time of year and rising rapidly,” he said.
Infected mosquitoes have been found in Boulder, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer, Logan, Mesa, Otero, Prowers and Weld counties.
The state’s worst year for West Nile was 2003, with 2,947 confirmed human cases, including 63 deaths.
Since the virus was first detected in Colorado in August 2002, the state has recorded 3,706 human cases and 76 deaths. Health officials said the total number of human cases is much higher because only a small proportion of people who are infected feel sick.
Symptoms include fever, headache and neck stiffness. In more serious cases, blindness, paralysis’s and inflammation of the brain have been reported.
The previous Colorado victims this year include a 51-year-old who lives in Logan County in northeast Colorado and a resident of Cheyenne County in eastern Colorado. No other information about them was released.