BROOMFIELD, Colo. (KKCO)-- Twelve horses in Colorado are infected with the West Nile Virus, according to the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
One case has been confirmed in Mesa County, the report said. Other cases were confirmed in Larimer, Weld, LaPlata, Adams and Pueblo counties.
Signs of West Nile in infected horses include head tilt, muscle tremors, stumbling, lack of coordination, weakness of the limbs or partial paralysis, the press release said.
In addition to vaccinations, the Department of Agriculture said horse owners also need to reduce the mosquito populations and their possible breeding areas. Recommendations include removing stagnant water sources, keeping animals inside during the bugs’ feeding times, which are typically early in the morning and evening, and using mosquito repellents.
According to the Department of Public Health and Environment, 98 human cases of West Nile Virus have been reported across Colorado. No cases have been reported on the Western Slope. Larimer County has seen 29 cases, and Boulder County has seen 14.
For people who do become ill, the time between the mosquito bite and the start of symptoms can be from 5 to 15 days, according to state health officials. In rare cases, the virus can cause a serious brain infection such as meningitis or encephalitis. These infections begin suddenly with high fever and a headache, and may progress to stiff neck, disorientation, tremors and coma.
The most effective way to prevent West Nile virus disease is to prevent mosquito bites:
•Use insect repellents when you go outdoors. Choose an EPA-registered product and follow the label directions carefully.
•Wear long sleeves and pants from dusk through dawn when the mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus are most active.
•Install or repair screens on windows and doors. If you have air conditioning, use it.
•Empty standing water from containers such as flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires and birdbaths so mosquitoes can’t grow in them.