Public Health officials announce Huerfano County’s first equine case of West Nile virus

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Positive West Nile Virus Case in Huerfano County

Huerfano, CO— Public Health officials announced Huerfano County’s first equine case of West Nile virus.

The first case of equine WNV case in Colorado in 2023 was confirmed on July 28 by the Colorado State Veterinarian. 

During the summer of 2023, Colorado has seen an increase in horses affected by the West Nile Virus. Vaccines have proven to be a safe and effective prevention tool for WNV in horses.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture's State Veterinarian's Office tracks the cases of equine WNV. To learn more about WNV in people, please visit the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Preventing West Nile Virus in Humans

West Nile virus can infect humans, birds, and other animals such as horses. WNV develops in the human body within 5-14 days after a bite from an infected mosquito. WNV can be serious and lead to fever, meningitis, encephalitis, and potential long-term illness and disability. 

Symptoms of West Nile virus may include fever, fatigue, headache, muscle weakness, rash, stiff neck or changed mental state. Some infected persons experience a feeling of extreme tiredness and weakness for several weeks. Immediately seek medical attention if you have any of these symptoms.

No vaccine is available to help prevent WNV infection in humans and treatment options are very limited, so prevention is key, especially for people at higher risk. People of all ages can be infected with WNV but older adults and those who are immunocompromised are at increased risk of more severe infection. 

LAHCDHD advises all individuals to protect themselves from West Nile virus by following the Four D’s:

  • DRAIN standing water around your house weekly. Remember to drain water from tires, cans, flowerpots, clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, toys and puddles.
  • DUSK and DAWN are when mosquitoes are most active. Limit outdoor activities and take precautions to prevent mosquito bites during these times.
  • DEET is an effective ingredient to look for in insect repellents. Always follow label instructions carefully.
  • DRESS in long sleeves and pants in areas where mosquitoes are active.

Visit our website to learn more about WNV and ways to protect yourself and your family.