The year’s first human case of the West Nile virus was reported Thursday in La Plata County, according to San Juan Basin Public Health.
West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne illness that can cause fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. In rare instances, the virus can cause encephalitis and meningitis and be fatal.
Since 2002, nearly 60 people have been infected in La Plata County, according to SJBPH.
Most people infected with mosquito-borne viruses don’t get sick. However, those who do contract the virus start experiencing symptoms two to 14 days after getting a mosquito bite, according to the health department.
People older than 60 are most at risk for serious illness or disease from the virus.
There is no treatment for the virus other than supportive care, and there is no vaccine to prevent it. Preventing mosquito bites is the best way to avoid a mosquito-borne illness, the health department said.
Residents can take steps to protect themselves:
Use insect repellent containing DEET.Drain standing water around the home.Be careful outdoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.Dress in long sleeves and pants where mosquitoes are active.For more information, visit cdc.gov/westnile/prevention.