The number of mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus in east Fort Collins increased dramatically this week, county health officials said.
“The mosquito that carries it—the Culex tarsalis—reaches its peak numbers usually about this time of year,” said Phil Curry, the province’s West Nile Virus coordinator at a news conference Friday.
The upcoming long weekend doesn’t help peoples’ chances, added Curry, noting that many people spend extra time outdoors.
The province is continually testing the insects, and so far, none have tested positive for the virus.
“This season will not be an early season, but there still is a lot of time left to see this mosquito pick up the virus,” said Curry.
The mosquitoes are most active in the evening and overnight hours. Deputy Medical Health Officer Dr. Denise Werker says these are preemptive warnings but most people don’t show symptoms when they’ve contracted the virus.
“In those instances when you have a persistent high fever, headache, and you show signs of confusion or paralysis and weakness, you really do need to seek medical attention,” said Werker.
“There’s a danger of you not being able to breathe properly.”
Werker says serious cases likely wouldn’t crop up until the fall, as there can be a considerable time lapse between being bit and showing symptoms.