Fort Collins not spraying mosquitos until 2 people are infected with West Nile Virus

Experts say it could be too late by then

FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Fort Collins will not spray against the West Nile virus until two people are infected.

"Before the City of Fort Collins will consider adulticiding… there must be two confirmed city-wide human cases," the city website states.

Last year, Larimer County Health Department Director Adrienne LeBailly suggested cities like Fort Collins start spraying against the infected mosquitoes before cases of the illness starting cropping up, the Coloradoan reported.

Symptoms may appear in 3 to 14 days after infection, according to the Weld County Health Department. By the time an infection is reported, it is too late to stop it from spreading, the Coloradoan cited an expert as saying.

Initial symptoms include fever, headache, nausea and vomiting, muscle aches, weakness and rash. Symptoms of severe illness include high fever, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, muscle weakness, vision loss, paralysis and even death.

About 75 percent of people who are infected have no symptoms, health officials said. About 25 percent will develop West Nile fever.

The City of Fort Collins has yet to detect infected mosquitoes or birds, the Larimer County Health Department reported Tuesday.

However, five counties in Colorado -- Weld, Boulder, Adams, Delta and Mesa counties -- have all reported finding Culex mosquitoes infected with the disease.

Communities in Weld and Boulder counties have already announced plans to start spraying. Erie is spraying Wednesday between 8 p.m. and midnight in the areas of Arapahoe Ridge, Kenosha Estates, Erie Community Park and Vista Ridge Trail. Longmont will start spraying neighborhoods beginning at 9:30 p.m. Thursday, weather permitting, the Longmont Times Call reported. Greeley usually sprays before big town events but does not have a regular spraying program, according to the Coloradoan.

State health officials advise people take the "Four Ds" precautions against West Nile virus:

  • Drain standing water around the house weekly because that's where mosquitoes lay eggs. Be sure to empty water from old tires, cans, flowerpots, clogged rain gutters, rain barrels and toys where puddles can occur.
  • Dusk and dawn are when mosquitoes that carry the virus are most active, so limit outdoor activities or take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.
  • DEET is an effective ingredient to look for in insect repellents. Always follow label instructions carefully.
  • Dress in long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk or in areas where mosquitoes are active.
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