- Hello Jeff: I really wish that I had been wrong in the
Spring when I stated we would have a very nasty West Nile LIKE Virus season.
I wish that I was wrong about the bumper crop of ticks, fleas and mosquitos.
This season is turning out to be a nasty vectored disease season. Cases
of Eastern Equine Encephalitis are at above record numbers and the disease
is making a northward push from Florida to New Jersey. We are also seeing
other viruses in the news, such as St. Louis Encephalitis, Rocky Mountain
Spotted Fever and Ehrlichiosis. We are only beginning the season.
- By Jim Erickson
Rocky Mountain News
- Three more human cases of West Nile illness were confirmed
in Colorado on Thursday, and a state health official said two of the patients
likely contracted a severe form that can produce long-lasting neurological
- The latest cases bring Colorado's 2003 West Nile total
to four, vaulting the state nearly to the top of the national list for
early-season cases of the illness.
- Jefferson, Pueblo and Otero counties each reported one
case of West Nile illness Thursday. A 28-year-old Weld County man became
the state's first 2003 human West Nile case on Tuesday.
- All four patients are recovering at home. According to
the state health department, the three latest cases involve:
- A 56-year-old Lakewood woman who was hospitalized.
- A 45-year-old Otero County woman who was treated in
a hospital emergency room.
- A 48-year-old Pueblo County man who was hospitalized.
Suspected human West Nile cases have been reported in Larimer and Phillips
counties but have not been verified by the state health department lab
- Only about 20 percent of those bitten by West Nile-infected
mosquitoes become ill. Symptoms of the mild form of the illness, which
is known as West Nile fever, include fever, headache, body aches, nausea
and vomiting. Symptoms typically last a few days.
- About one in 150 infected people will develop a serious
neurological illness such as meningitis or encephalitis. Encephalitis is
an inflammation of the brain; meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes
that envelop the brain and spinal cord.
- People over 50 are at the highest risk of contracting
the most serious forms of West Nile illness, according to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention.
- The 56-year-old Jefferson County woman and the 48-year-old
Pueblo County man probably developed West Nile meningitis, said John Pape,
a state health dep artment epidemiologist. An investigation is under way,
- The first laboratory tests on the Pueblo County man were
done July 20, and he was initially diagnosed with viral meningitis, Pape
said. That disease is typically characterized by high fever, stiff neck,
severe headache and elevated levels of proteins, sugars and white blood
cells in the spinal fluid.
- Additional testing of the man's blood and spinal fluid
revealed antibodies to West Nile on Thursday, Pape said. The man lives
in the St. Charles Mesa area of rural Pueblo County, said Dr. Chris Nevin-Woods,
director of the Pueblo City-County Health Department.
- Symptoms of the severe forms of West Nile illness can
include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, tremors,
coma, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.
The symptoms can last several weeks, and neurological effects can be permanent,
according to the CDC. In a related development on Thursday, Denver's Bonfils
Blood Center reported that blood from 13 donors has tested positive for
West Nile in preliminary results from an experimental screening test that
went into use July 1.
- All the blood that tested positive has been quarantined;
none of it has been given to patients, said Jessica Maitland, a Bonfils
- Confirmatory tests have begun, and some results may be
released on Monday, Maitland said.
- Two equine cases of West Nile have been confirmed in
Montezuma and La Plata counties in Colorado's southwestern corner, "indicating
that this year's virus has crossed the mountains and now is being identified
on the Western Slope," according a state health department news release.
Both horses are recovering.
- West Nile was first detected in Colorado animals in mid-August
of last year, and the state's first human case was reported a month later.
- Colorado ended the year with 14 non-fatal human cases
of West Nile illness.
- Nine of the cases were West Nile fever, four were West
Nile meningitis, and one was West Nile encephalitis, Pape said.
- Last year, more than 4,100 Americans were sickened by
West Nile and 284 died. As of Thursday evening, 12 human West Nile cases
in eight states had been confirmed by CDC in 2003. Texas led the pack with
- On Tuesday the acting director of the CDC's Fort Collins
lab, which heads the nation's public health response to West Nile, warned
Colorado residents to "be prepared for a fairly substantial human
epidemic" here this summer.
- Healthy 27-yr Old Father Knocked Flat By WNV
- By Sean Kelly Denver Post Staff Writer 7-26-3
- EATON - Behind Josh Watson's new home is an irrigation
ditch that brings water to the scenic cornfields north of Greeley.
- But the ditch water brings mosquitoes, too. And the biting
insects apparently brought West Nile virus home to the 27-year-old Eaton
- Watson was confirmed this week as the first person to
contract West Nile virus in Colorado this year and one of about two dozen
nationwide. His symptoms have ranged from body aches to fever to spots
covering his body.
- "They were everywhere, reddish-purple blotches all
over my whole body," Watson said. "It looked like I had been
shot 200 times with a BB gun." Although he's still suffering, he's
grateful it wasn't worse.
- "Thank God it was only me," Watson said, holding
his 4-month-old daughter, Laine, on his lap Wednesday night. "Thank
God it wasn't my family. I feel like I'm strong enough to fight it off."
- Watson is the first of four confirmed cases of the virus
this year in Colorado, and two more are suspected, said state epidemiologist
- West Nile infected more than 4,000 people in 20 states
last year, killing 284.
- With twin daughters, an infant and his wife of three
years, Watson is smothered with love, a young father with a young family
in a new home. He installs fire sprinklers for a living and enjoys sports
and the outdoors.
- But he's been sick for nearly three weeks now, with little
energy for his family and friends. The disease is not contagious, but it
causes severe symptoms.
- Watson may have meningitis now and underwent an MRI test
Thursday. If the symptoms get worse, he could undergo a spinal tap.
- For more information on West Nile virus, call a newly
established state hotline at 877-462-2911 or visit www.FighttheBiteColorado.com
- In severe cases, the virus can cause encephalitis and
even polio- like paralysis. It can lead to death, particularly among the
- Because it is a virus, there is no cure and it must run
- Antibiotics do nothing. Watson was sent home with Tylenol
for his aches and pains.
- So far, Watson has lost eight pounds off his muscular
- "It felt like I got hit by a truck," Watson
said. "Now the symptoms just come and go. They linger around. Sometimes
I feel OK, and sometimes I don't feel good at all."
- From its onset July 6, the virus has confounded Watson
and his doctors.
- He woke that morning with a raging fever and sweated
through the sheets. He was visiting family in Canon City over the July
Fourth weekend, and struggled to make it home to Eaton.
- Along with the fever came a sore throat, diarrhea and
severe body aches.
- "I hurt all over, my eyes, my neck, my back. I've
never been so sore. It was like the flu, only way, way worse," he
- Watson first went to the doctor on July 9.
- "He had a lot more than normal flu symptoms. It
was just not compatible with garden-variety flu," said Dr. David Kang,
of Ault Family Care, in the town of Ault, west of Eaton.
- Through an infectious-disease specialist in Greeley,
Watson underwent a host of blood tests for everything from the hantavirus
to a rabbit-borne virus.
- He and his wife, Jennifer, a pediatric nurse in Fort
Collins, laughed about West Nile as they wondered what had made him sick.
- "We even joked about it," his wife said. "We're
not laughing now."
- Over the next couple days, Watson grew worse and worse.
When he went back to Kang on July 11, he was seriously ill with spots all
over his body.
- Kang told him to go immediately to the infectious-disease
specialist and ask for a West Nile test. He did, and it came back positive
- "I couldn't believe it. What are the odds?"
Watson said. "I'm just glad to know what is for sure."
- The West Nile virus emerged in the United States in 1999.
It was first identified in New York and has marched westward, first appearing
in Colorado in 2002. Experts think wild birds carried the virus west along
- Yet no one knows how it got started in the United States,
said Pape, the state epidemiologist. One possibility is that foreign mosquitoes
carried it over on airplanes or cargo ships, he said.
- The virus goes from bird to bird using mosquitoes as
carriers. Humans and horses are "accidental" victims, Pape said.
- Pape said Watson's symptoms are serious but could be
- "He's sick, but as West Nile goes he's probably
in the mild to moderate range," Pape said.
- Although he's struggled with symptoms for nearly three
weeks, Watson has missed only three days of work.
- "I've got three kids and a mortgage. I can't be
sick. I can't miss work," he explained.
- Since last week, Watson said, he's kept the girls - Laine,
and twins Magi and Maci, who are almost 2 - in the house as much as possible.
When the twins do go outside, he makes sure they wear mosquito repellent.
- Watson was infected sometime in early July. The first
case in Colorado last year was not reported until mid-September.
- Health experts say that could indicate a bad year for
West Nile in Colorado. The virus has been confirmed most often in Eaton,
Severance, Windsor and north Greeley, county officials said.
- Weld County is spending more than $741,000 to treat mosquito
breeding grounds with larvicide and has sprayed mosquito-killing fog along
350 miles of roads, according to the county's health department.
- The tall grass and weeds along the road behind Watson's
house recently were cut. But it was too late for him. Doctors tell Watson
he may suffer symptoms for weeks or months more.
- "I want to feel normal," Watson said. "I'm
just tired of being sick."
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- Patricia A. Doyle, PhD Please visit my "Emerging
Diseases" message board at: http://www.clickitnews.com/ubbthreads/postlist.php?Cat=&Board=emergingdiseases
Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa Go with God and in Good Health