PUEBLO, Colo. - The Pueblo City-County Health Department says it has confirmed three new cases of West Nile virus.
"Three cases of West Nile virus have been confirmed in Pueblo residents in the past week, this brings the current total to four cases this year, all of which were confirmed in the past month," said Dr. Christine Nevin-Woods, public health director of the Pueblo City-County Health Department. She added, "The risk of being bit by a mosquito will decrease with outdoor freeze, yet until the weather is colder it is very important every individual take precaution to avoid the West Nile virus illness."
The health department says symptoms of West Nile virus may include fever, fatigue, headache, muscle weakness, rash, stiff neck or changed mental state. Some infected persons experience a feeling of extreme tiredness and weakness for several weeks.
"Changes in mental status, confusion, tremors and high fever were some of the symptoms reported by the individuals who recently tested positive for West Nile virus," explained Dr. Nevin-Woods. This has been the worst season in Colorado since 2007.
Dr. Nevin-Woods says you can protect yourself from West Nile virus and "fight the bite" by following the Four D's:
DRAIN: Eliminate standing water in tires or similar water-holding containers as these may serve as mosquito breeding sites. Change the water in birdbaths, empty tires or flower pots, at least weekly.
DUSK AND DAWN: Avoid outdoor activities, such as gardening, at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
DEET, picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are effective ingredients to look for in insect repellents. Always follow label instructions for application.
DRESS: If outside during the periods when mosquitoes are most active, cover up by wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, shoes and socks.
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found at the website www.FightTheBiteColorado.com.