The first human case of the West Nile virus has been confirmed in Larimer County for the 2021 season.

On Thursday afternoon (Aug. 12), the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE) confirmed the first case of the virus found in a Larimer County resident in 2021.

A resident from Berthoud was confirmed to have the first case.

The West Nile virus is a viral infection which is spread to people by bites from infected Culex mosquitoes, according to LCDHE.

Virus symptoms can range from nonexistent to severe, and sometimes result in illness. About 75% of people who are infected don’t have any symptoms, while about 25% of infected individuals will develop West Nile fever, which may progress to severe neuroinvasive infection (this may lead to hospitalization, critical illness, chronic disability, or even death).

According to the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, we're in prime time mosquito season; human case reports usually peak in August and September, and, right now, there is an abundance of mosquitos in many areas of the county.

While that might be the case, there's no reason to be alarmed, as there are ways to protect yourself against the virus.

To do so, you must first take the proper steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitos. This can include using an effective repellent, or perhaps even staying indoors when mosquitoes are most active (between dusk and dawn).

The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment works with local cities and towns, a mosquito abatement company (Vector Disease Control International), and Colorado State University to monitor and assess the risk of the virus to Larimer County residents.

LCDHE says the county began trapping mosquitoes to monitor for West Nile virus risk back in June.

For additional information and tips on what you can do to prevent West Nile virus, visit larimer.org/westnile.

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