Don't forget the bug spray, because the West Nile virus is now in Larimer County.

According to a Tuesday (July 20) press release from the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE), officials have detected virus-positive mosquitoes in southeast Fort Collins for the first time this year.

Thankfully, Larimer County isn't unprepared for this news. LCDHE began monitoring the County's West Nile virus risk in June — just before the disease appeared in Weld County.

Now, the agency will work with Vector Disease Control International, a mosquito abatement company, Colorado State University, and local municipalities to manage risk among residents.

"Mosquito numbers are abundant in many areas of the County. It is a good time to remind people to protect themselves from West Nile virus by taking steps to avoid being bitten," read the release. "That can easily be done by using an effective repellent or staying indoors when mosquitos are biting."

The County's management strategies include spraying for adult mosquitoes, reducing mosquito-attracting standing water, and larviciding. However, residents can protect themselves against the West Nile virus by following the "4 D's:"

  • DEFEND — use EPA-registered bug repellants, including DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (PMD), or IR3535
  • DUSK TO DAWN — avoid the outdoors between dusk and dawn, when mosquitos are actively feeding
  • DRESS — wear long sleeves and pants when around mosquitos to prevent them from biting
  • DRAIN — get rid of standing water on your property to reduce mosquito breeding hotspots

While the "4 D's" will largely keep you safe from the virus, it is still important to remain vigilant. Fever, headache, nausea, and vomiting are all symptoms of the virus; however, most infected individuals will experience no symptoms.

If left untreated, the disease can result in a severe neuroinvasive infection. Learn more about how you can prevent the virus here.

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