Fort Collins may soon join Boulder, Erie, Lafayette and Longmont in spraying pesticides to ward off and eliminate disease-carrying mosquitos.
Officials in Fort Collins say the presence of West Nile Virus in culex mosquitoes has quadruped in the last week and "as the level of risk for West Nile Virus passes a specific threshold," the city may start spraying.
Spraying in Boulder County began last week after tests showed many mosquitos there are carrying the potentially lethal virus.
A woman in Delta County became this year's first case of a person becoming ill after contracting the disease, according to state officials.
In 2012, there were reported 131 cases of West Nile in Colorado. Five people died. The worst year for the mosquito-born disease in the state came in 2003, when officials reported 2,847 cases and 63 deaths.
"The city of Fort Collins aims to reduce the risk of human West Nile virus infection while limiting adverse human health and environmental impacts," a press release said. "Any recommendation for spraying originates from the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment and is preceded by a detailed analysis of West Nile virus risk by a three-person West Nile Advisory panel that provides feedback to the city manager."
Health officials encourage residents to take precautionary measures to protect themselves against mosquitos. Residents can reduce the number of mosquitoes around their house by removing standing water in ponds, gutters, flower pots, and tires. Residents can also reduce their risk by wearing long sleeves and pants and insect repellent. Repellents vary based on protection time and active ingredient and temporarily keep hungry mosquitoes from identifying humans as a food source.
Residents in Fort Collins can sign up for the city’s email notification system at fcgov.com/westnile so they can be notified when spraying becomes necessary in their neighborhood. Fort Collins residents without internet access can sign up to receive phone notifications by calling Colorado Mosquito Control at 970-663-5697 or 970-962-2583.