West Nile virus threat expected to spike, one community delays mosquito spraying

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DENVER -- Experts say the West Nile virus is expected to spike in Northern Colorado.  Mosquitoes in Weld, Adams and Boulder counties are testing positive for the virus.

Larimer County is being closely watched.  Ft. Collins city officials say they’ll hold off on spraying for now as they closely watch the results of testing in that area.   City guidelines prevent spraying for mosquitoes until there's a higher concentration of them and at least two human cases of West Nile virus are reported.

Experts say choosing to spray after human cases are reported is like rolling the dice because symptoms can take as long as 2-3 weeks to appear.

Doc Weissmann, Chief Entomologist  of Colorado Mosquito Control warns, “If you wait until the people get sick it's already too late, a lot of people have been exposed by then. If you're going to have a canary in your coal mine you want to take the miners out when the canary dies, not wait until the first miner dies.”

While many in Ft. Collins say they feel safer without added exposure to chemicals used in sprays, others say the guidelines don't make sense.

Experts say whether you live in a community that’s spraying or not, it is important to do what you can to protect yourself and your family.

  • Avoid the outdoors during morning and dusk
  • Stay away from standing water and remove old rainwater from your yard
  • Wear long pants and sleeves
  • Always use a repellent with Deet.

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