A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

In this update:
[1] Colorado: human cases/hospitalizations
[2] Oklahoma: human cases
[3] Washington: mosquitos

[1] Colorado: human cases/hospitalizations
Date: Tue 15 Aug 2023
Source: Denver Gazette [edited] https://denvergazette.com/outtherecolorado/news/19-people-hospitalized-with-west-nile-virus-in-colorado-as-2023-outpaces-norm/article_7bb6175c-3b89-11ee-b3f1-d39fcded9db9.html

The state of Colorado is starting to see the results of a year of
“unprecedented” West Nile virus [WNV] risk.

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment,
19 people have been hospitalized so far this year [2023] of 36 people
affected with West Nile virus. Nineteen of those 36 people have
exhibited serious neurologic symptoms, and one person has died after
contracting the virus.

While a few dozen people affected with West Nile virus midway through
summer might not seem like a lot, it’s worth noting that these cases
are happening well ahead of the typical peak. By the point that 36
people were reported to have been affected this year [2023], the
5-year to-date average of cases was just 8.2, with cases generally
peaking in mid-September. Throughout all of 2022, there were 206
cases, resulting in 143 hospitalizations and 20 deaths.

Based on this data, it would seem as if 2023 is likely to surpass the
recent norm in terms of cases, though it may still be unlikely to set
a new record.

Historical data reveals that 2003 was the deadliest year on record
(with data going back to 2003) for West Nile virus in Colorado,
killing 66 people with a total of 2948 cases. It’s worth noting that
this year [2003] proved to be an outlier in terms of both cases and
deaths, with 2022 being the 2nd-deadliest year on record at 20 deaths
and 2007 having the 2nd-highest number of cases, at 578.

The lowest presence of West Nile virus in Colorado took place in 2011,
with 8 cases, 4 hospitalizations, and no deaths. This [2011] is the
only year on record where no West Nile virus deaths occurred in the
Centennial State, with 177 deaths attributed to the virus between 2003
and 2022.

There is no human vaccination for West Nile virus and there is no
specific treatment. The only way to prevent contracting the virus is
to reduce the risk of mosquito bites through use of bug spray,
protective clothing, and avoiding areas that may have mosquitos during
times the species is most active, typically dusk and dawn. Most cases
of West Nile virus are so minor that they go unnoticed, but the virus
still has deadly potential.

[Byline: Spencer McKee]

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