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What’s Going Around Mesa County

Follow trends for seasonal illnesses and how to prevent them.

Your local epidemiology team cares about your health. They study the causes of illness and injury in Mesa County.

Visit this page to see what seasonal illnesses are going around – and how to prevent them.

Animal Bites

Animal bites from mammals have the potential to transmit rabies. Rabies is fatal once symptoms develop, so people who are bitten by some wild animals should receive a post-exposure vaccine.

Prevention Tips

Do not touch wild animals. Call the appropriate wildlife agency if you are having problems with wild animals near your home.

Local Trends

Over the past couple of years, animal bites have been steadily increasing in Mesa County. Most bites involve cats or dogs, but we also get reports of people bitten by bats, raccoons, coyotes, and other wildlife!


Hantavirus is caused by a virus that is carried primarily by deer mice. The infected rodents pass the virus in their urine, droppings and saliva.
People are infected by inhaling airborne particles of the virus or by direct contact with rodents, their droppings or nests.

Prevention Tips
  • Do not sweep or vacuum mouse urine, droppings, or nests. This will cause virus particles to go into the air, where they can be breathed in.
  • Open doors or windows to provide good ventilation for 30 to 60 minutes before cleaning out structures.
  • To avoid stirring up dust, thoroughly wet down areas with a mixture of 1 part bleach and 10 parts water then remove material containing the mouse droppings. Wear gloves.
  • Rodent-proof buildings by plugging holes or other mouse entryways.
  • Keep indoor areas clean, especially kitchens. Store food in rodent-proof containers. This includes pet, livestock, and bird food. Properly dispose of garbage in sealed containers
Local Trends

Even though this is a rare disease, the consequences are high. 

  • From 1993-2021, there were 119 confirmed cases of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome in Colorado residents.
  • Of these, 41 were fatal.
  • Over this time, Mesa county has seen three cases.

West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus (WNV) is spread to humans by mosquito bites and is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States.

Many people who get WNV will never even know that they had it. However, others will develop symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Some people develop severe disease causing inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. People who develop severe disease may die or have permanent disability.

Prevention Tips

There is no treatment for West Nile virus, so prevention is key. This is the time of year when mosquito activity typically peaks, so it’s important for residents to take precautions.

Increased outdoor activity can lead to increased exposure to mosquito bites so take some easy steps to protect yourself:

  • Use an EPA-approved insect repellent effective against mosquitoes. Look for one that contains DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, 2-undecanone, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
  • Dress in long sleeves and pants when in areas where mosquitoes are active.
  • Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn; this is when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Drain and remove sources of standing water on your property.
Local Trends

2022 was a severe year for West Nile Virus in Colorado.

  • Twenty people died statewide.
  • Mesa county had four cases of WNV.
  • Counties surrounding Mesa county had the highest rates of West Nile Virus in the state.

We expect there to be more mosquitos locally this year because of the wet winter. This could cause increased risk of contracting WNV.

Hear it from our team.

Our epidemiologists love to talk about illnesses and how to prevent them.