County West Nile count rises to four
Another new case of West Nile virus in Garfield County has been announced on the Colorado State Health Department’s Web site, bringing the total number of reported, confirmed West Nile cases in the county to four.Garfield County is still far behind Mesa County, the worst-hit county in the state this year. Mesa currently has 119 cases, resulting in two deaths – Colorado’s only reported deaths as a result of contracting the disease this year. But that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet. Garfield County public nursing service director Mary Meisner said even though we need a “heavy frost” before residents can safely assume West Nile season is over, the incubation period for the virus could mean that cases continue to appear well into the fall. The latest Garfield County case, reported Sept. 21, involves a female, though no age was reported. According to the state health department, the onset of the virus occurred more than a month ago, on Aug. 13.Meisner said as temperatures continue to drop, people can shift their focus away from avoiding West Nile and turn their attention toward preventing the flu.Meisner said it looks like the 2004-05 flu season will hit the region hard.”We’re really pushing our outreach, going from one end of the county to the other to let people know about our vaccination clinics.”Meisner said the state health department has beefed up its recommendations regarding vaccinations. Besides asthmatic youth and seniors, all children ages 6-24 months, as well as all of the children’s family members, are being encouraged this year to get flu shots. She said the county now has 3,300 flu vaccines in stock, which includes 500 dosages specifically for children.The county nursing service is planning to hold seven flu clinics to administer the vaccine in October, November and December at various locations throughout the county. The $15 cost for the vaccine can be paid by cash or check. A full schedule of the flu clinics will appear in the Post Independent in the beginning of October. Meisner said private physicians throughout the county will also have the vaccine available. For more information about both West Nile virus and the flu, contact the county nursing service at 945-6614 in Glenwood or 625-5200 in Rifle. Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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