Blood donor tests pos­i­tive for virus

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Kurt Se­vits

Larimer County’s first hu­man West Nile virus case was con­firmed in a Fort Collins blood donor, health of­fi­cials said Tues­day.

All do­nated blood that tests pos­i­tive for the virus is de­stroyed, of­fi­cials said.

The donor has not shown any symp­toms as­so­ci­ated with the in­fec­tion.

Jef­fer­son County re­ported the state’s first hu­man West Nile case in June. The virus has been de­tected in mos­qui­toes in Boul­der, Delta, Jef­fer­son, Mesa and Weld coun­ties this year.

There were 149 cases of West Nile in­fec­tion in Colorado peo­ple last year, eight of which were fa­tal.

West Nile virus is gen­er­ally spread by mos­qui­toes. Hu­mans who be­come in­fected with the virus typ­i­cally don’t show symp­toms, but the very young, very old and peo­ple with cer­tain med­i­cal con­di­tions that af­fect their im­mune re­sponse can be at higher risk of get­ting sick.

Symp­toms may show up sud­denly, with a high fever and headache. In rare cases, the virus can lead to a brain in­fec­tion such as en­cephali­tis or menin­gi­tis. There is no vac­cine for West Nile and there’s no treat­ment be­yond al­le­vi­at­ing symp­toms.

The best way to pro­tect your­self from West Nile is to pre­vent mos­quito bites. State health of­fi­cials rec­om­mend tak­ing the fol­low­ing pre­cau­tions:

• Use in­sect re­pel­lents when you go out­doors. Re­pel­lents con­tain­ing DEET, pi­caridin, IR3535, and some oil of le­mon eu­ca­lyp­tus and para-men­thane-diol prod­ucts pro­vide the best pro­tec­tion. Fol­low la­bel in­struc­tions.

• Limit out­door ac­tiv­i­ties at dusk and dawn, when mos­qui­toes that carry West Nile virus are most ac­tive.

Wear pro­tec­tive cloth­ing (long pants, long-sleeved shirts and socks) in ar­eas where mos­qui­toes are ac­tive. Spray clothes with in­sect re­pel­lent for ex­tra pro­tec­tion.

• Drain any stand­ing wa­ter on your prop­erty. Mos­qui­toes breed in wa­ter, so items like bird baths, empty buck­ets, clogged gutters and kid­die pools should be drained reg­u­larly to keep mos­quito pop­u­la­tions down.

For more on West Nile, go to the Colorado Depart­ment of Pub­lic Health and En­vi­ron­ment’s web­site, colorado.gov/cd­phe.

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