By Claire Ninde
Special to The SUN
The Animas Mosquito Control District notified San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) that three mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus over the past two weeks. The samples were collected from sites north of Durango in the Animas valley.
The West Nile virus-positive samples are the first positive samples in the district for the 2019 surveillance year.
Most people get West Nile virus from the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people infected with mosquito-borne viruses don’t get sick. For people who do, the time between the mosquito bite and the start of symptoms can be from two to 14 days.
Symptoms of West Nile virus include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. In rare instances, the virus can also cause encephalitis and meningitis, and can be fatal.
Anyone reporting these symptoms should contact their health care provider. Individuals older than the age of 60 are at most risk for serious illness or disease from the virus.
SJBPH reminds residents to use the four Ds to protect against West Nile virus:
• Use insect repellent containing deet.
• Drain standing water around your house.
• Be especially careful when doing outdoor activities at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
• Dress in long sleeves and pants where mosquitos are active.
For more information on West Nile virus and other communicable diseases, see sjbpublichealth.org/communicabledisease/. For a list of EPA-approved insect repellents, see www.epa.gov/insect-repellents.
By Claire Ninde