Protect Yourself Against West Nile Virus
Department: Health & Environment
Release Date: Aug 30, 2012
Mosquitoes with West Nile virus will be biting over Labor Day!
As people gather in backyards, parks and campgrounds to celebrate the long Labor Day weekend, it is certain that mosquitoes will be there to share the fun. It’s also certain that some of the mosquitoes will be infected with West Nile virus.
The approaching holiday weekend is likely to put more people outdoors and in contact with mosquitoes. The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment strongly urges people to use an appropriate mosquito repellent, especially over the Labor Day weekend and into the next six weeks, when outdoors between dusk and dawn.
“Even though the overall number of mosquitoes does not seem high, mosquito infection rates are at their highest, so it’s really important to use a repellent,” said Dr. Adrienne LeBailly, director of the Health Department. She also suggests wearing long pants and long sleeved shirts for further protection from being bitten. The number of people infected by the virus in the U.S. is far higher this year than most years at this time.
Weekly mosquito trapping in Larimer County continues to show a rise in the infection rates of Culex pipiens mosquitoes in Larimer County. It therefore is especially important to apply mosquito repellent before heading outdoors between dusk and dawn. Although the risk will decrease when the weather gets colder, infected mosquitoes may be around until the first frost.
West Nile virus is a disease transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can cause mild to severe illness and, in some cases, leads to chronic disability or death.
At increased risk of serious illness from West Nile infection are people over 50, solid organ transplant recipients, and people with weakened immune systems. However, all persons who are not adequately protected are at risk of being bitten by an infected mosquito.
The surest way to prevent getting West Nile virus is to avoid mosquito bites, Preventive steps you can take include:
- Use a mosquito repellent that has been proven to be effective against West Nile Virus-carrying mosquitoes. Ones that contain DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (with active ingredient PMD, or p-menthane diol) or IR3535 are good choices.
- Use mosquito netting over baby carriers and strollers.
- Keep exposed skin covered or use a repellent when out at prime Culex mosquito-biting hours, between dusk and dawn.
- Use a powerful fan while sitting on your deck or patio to keep mosquitoes away.
- Drain standing water in your yard or in your garden.
- Empty any containers, toys, or other objects where rainwater may have collected at least twice a week.
- Add mosquito-eating minnows or mosquito “dunks” to ornamental ponds with still water.
- Keep window screens repaired.
For more information about West Nile virus, or on repellent use, visit: www.Larimer.org/health
or call 498-6700.
City of Fort Collins West Nile virus website:
For information on repellent use, go to
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment West Nile virus info