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Wet Weather Could Lead To More West Nile Cases, Health Officials Say

Mesa County Health Department

May was the wettest month on record, according to federal data. Colorado also saw its fair share of precipitation last month. 

This increased moisture could mean more mosquitoes and this has health officials concerned. 

The insects reproduce in standing water so when it rains a lot in can create ideal breeding habitat for them. 

Thomas Orr, a regional epidemiologist at the Mesa County Health Department, says more mosquitoes could lead to more cases of West Nile.

"West Nile virus is transmitted by a certain species of mosquito that transmit the disease through mosquito bites," Orr says.

He says the virus can cause fever, rash, headaches, meningitis, encephalitis or even result in death.

Last year, in Colorado there were 118 cases of West Nile and four people died.

Orr says there are ways to reduce the risk of contracting the virus.

"Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk," he says. "People can avoid being outside during those times or if they are out gardening for example or cycling or hiking or whatever and getting a lot of mosquito bites apply repellent."

He says people can also wear long sleeves and pants and light colors to deter the bloodsucking pests.

However, health officials say the most effective way to reduce mosquito populations is to drain standing pools of water. 

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