Eagle County officials warn of West Nile | VailDaily.com

Eagle County officials warn of West Nile

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Several cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Colorado, so local residents should “play smart” and avoid mosquito bites, local health officials said.

West Nile virus can cause serious illness or lead to death and is spread by the Culex mosquito species, said Jill Hunsaker, Eagle County public health manager.

The mosquitos pass the virus from Corvid birds such as magpies, crows and jays to humans or horses.

“Even though we have a relatively short mosquito season in Eagle County, Culex mosquitoes are most likely to be infected with West Nile virus and looking for a blood meal during July and August,” said County Director of Environmental Health Ray Merry.

The following tips will help reduce the risk of contracting West Nile virus:

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

– Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when mosquitoes are most active ” from dusk until dawn ” or apply insect repellents.

– Use insect repellents with higher DEET content, the chemical in repellents that keep bugs from detecting you. More DEET results in protection for a longer period of time. Thirty percent DEET can last four to six hours.

– Reduce mosquito habitat on your property by frequently changing water in wading pools and allowing potted plants to drain freely.

County Animal Services also investigates dead birds and recommends that horse owners speak to a veterinarian about vaccinations.

To report dead birds, call 970-328-3647. For additional information about West Nile virus visit http://www.eaglecounty.us/westnile or call 970-328-8757.

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