Public Health Emerging Issues Sept. 15

PROTECT AGAINST WEST NILE VIRUS AS SEASON CONTINUES

  • A Mesa County horse tested positive for West Nile virus, serving as a reminder that the virus has been identified in our area and is capable of spreading to people.
  • It may feel like summer is over because school is back in session, but mosquitoes are still active in the warm weather Mesa County has been experiencing.
  • Although we haven’t had any human cases of the virus so far, this season, Mesa County typically sees an increase in human cases of West Nile virus during the month of September.
  • Prevent West Nile virus on your property and in your home.
    • Mosquitoes lay groups of eggs on the surface of water. Drain standing water on your property.
      • Empty and scrub, turn over, cover or throw away any items that hold water such as tires, buckets, planters, pools, birdbaths, flowerpot saucers or trash cans.
      • Tightly cover water storage containers such as buckets, cisterns and rain barrels.
    • Install or repair and use window and door screens – do not leave doors propped open.
  • Protect yourself against mosquito bites.
    • Use an insect repellant with DEET, picaridin, IR 3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus when you’re spending time outside – whether you’re out hiking or biking or just in your own backyard.
    • Dress in long sleeves and pants when you’re outside, if possible.
    • Avoid spending time outside during dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • About one in five people infected with the virus develop symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. If you experience symptoms, contact your health care provider.

 

STAY HEALTH – DO NOT DRINK RAW MILK

  • Three Mesa County residents have become ill after drinking raw milk since August 1.
  • The sale of raw milk for human consumption is illegal in Colorado, but people can still purchase a cow share to obtain it.
  • If you drink raw milk you may ingest harmful bacteria such as coli, Campylobacter or Salmonella.
  • The number of bacteria in raw milk is unpredictable, which makes it unsafe as it may cause serious, life-threatening illness.
  • Contamination is caused by:
    • Cow feces coming into direct contact with the milk.
    • Cow disease.
    • Infection of the cow’s udder.
    • Bacteria from the cow’s skin.
    • Insects, rodents and other animals.
  • Pasteurized milk offers many health benefits without running the threat of infection because it has been heated to kill germs.
  • Children, elderly people, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems have the highest risk of becoming ill from drinking raw milk.
  • If you drink raw milk and start to feel ill, contact your health care provider.
  • Drink pasteurized milk to avoid illness.

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