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First human West Nile death this year confirmed in Larimer County

Larimer County, Boulder County claim human West Nile virus deaths
Larimer County, Boulder County claim human West Nile virus deaths 00:24

The first human death from West Nile virus this year has been confirmed in Larimer County. The 66-year-old resident had been hospitalized since the end of July and died from neuroinvasive West Nile virus. 

The Larimer County Department of Public Health and Environment has been alerting residents and visitors of the ongoing threat of West Nile virus in the county. In recent weeks there has been a significant increase in West Nile virus cases as well as more cases than previous years in Larimer County. 

There have been 29 confirmed human cases, including eight hospitalizations, in Larimer County this year. 

"We are saddened to report the passing of one of our residents. Unfortunately, we will likely continue to see cases of West Nile Virus for the next month or two. We continue to see positive pools of mosquitoes from the weekly trapping and testing. Therefore, we urge residents to take this disease seriously and take extra precautions to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes," says Tom Gonzales, Larimer County Public Health Director, in a statement. 

Additional Information from the Larimer County Department of Public Health and Environment:

WNV symptoms can appear 3-14 days after being infected. Although 80% of infected people do not develop symptoms, for some, initial symptoms can include fever plus headache, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, joint pain, weakness, and a rash. If a person develops symptoms after being bitten by mosquitoes, they should see a health care professional. Less than 1% of individuals infected with WNV develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neuroinvasive illness, however, there are no medications to treat, or vaccines to prevent, WNV infection.  

LCDHE works with municipalities to recommend preventative measures such as larviciding and adulticiding for mosquitoes. This is essential to reduce the overall abundance of mosquitoes, in addition to controlling the Culex species that can transmit WNV.

LCDHE urges residents to take extra precautions to prevent mosquito bites, and to practice the 4 D's:

  • Defend – Use DEET or other effective mosquito repellent - Use an EPA-registered mosquito repellent that has been proven to be effective against West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes.  DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (also called p-menthane-3,8-diol or PMD) and IR3535 are effective choices.
  • Dusk to Dawn - Avoid exposure during peak Culex mosquito feeding times, from dusk through dawn.
  • Dress - Wear long sleeves and pants to keep mosquitoes from biting.
  • Drain – Remove standing water in your yard or garden to minimize mosquito breeding areas.

The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment closely monitors West Nile virus prevalence in the community through partnerships with municipalities, a mosquito abatement company (Vector Disease Control International), and Colorado State University to monitor and assess the risk to Larimer County residents.  

For more tips to prevent West Nile virus, visit

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