The Mesa County Health Department has confirmed the first human case of West Nile Virus in the county this year. So far, there have been a total of five reported cases of the virus in Colorado.

The Health Department says the incubation period for West Nile Virus is 5-7 days, so symptoms don't usually appear until about a week after a person is infected. The most common symptoms include headache, fever, body aches, nausea, rash and swollen lymph nodes. In severe cases, the virus may lead to meningitis or encephalitis.

Experts say the actual number of cases of West Nile Virus are hard to determine because many people who contract the virus show little or no symptoms or mistake the symptoms for other illnesses.

To protect yourself, the Mesa County Health Department says you should take the following precautions.

  • Use insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus
  • Dress in long sleeves and pants in areas where there are mosquitoes
  • Drain all standing water on your property
  • Limit or avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active