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Commerce City resident stricken with West Nile virus

A Commerce City resident who tested positive for West Nile virus, and was hospitalized, is now recovering at home.

The recovering patient experienced West Nile virus fever, which generally includes other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea and rash, according to a Tri-County Health Department news release.

“This case follows reports of WNV-infected mosquitoes in Adams and Arapahoe counties and three infected horses in Adams County over the past two weeks,” the release said.

West Nile virus is commonly spread to people by an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes then spread the virus to people and other animals by biting them.

People can combat West Nile virus by:

  • Draining standing water to cut down on breeding mosquitoes.
  • Try to avoid time outdoors between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Use products containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus and other mosquitoe repellents.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and shoes and socks if outdoors during the night.

“While most people who become infected with WNV fully recover, about 1 in 150 people develop a severe illness affecting the central nervous system,” the health department said. “Complications from severe illness can include encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord), and in rare cases, death.”

The first human case of WNV in Colorado this season was reported on Aug. 13, the release said. To date, 15 people in the state have tested positive for the virus; seven required hospitalization. WNV has been found in 11 Colorado counties this year, including Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Denver, Jefferson, Larimer, and Weld counties.

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