Threat of West Nile virus returns

Taxpayers pay $190K to control mosquitoes

Culex Tarsalis Enlargephoto

Culex Tarsalis

As the area’s monsoon season returns, so does the threat of the West Nile virus. Montezuma County had six reported cases last year.

“This is the time to be conscious,” said Jason Carruth of the Colorado Mosquito Control. “This is the height of the mosquito season.”

No reports of West Nile have been received locally thus far in 2014.

Manager of the Montezuma Mosquito Control District for 15 years, Carruth warned symptoms normally weren’t seen until four to six weeks after being bitten.

“They’re flu-like symptoms,” he added. “A sore throat, sore muscles, nausea and vomiting. A fever can last for weeks.”

Although there are 28 species of mosquitoes that call Montezuma County home, the most common threat carrying the West Nile virus is the culex tarsalis.

The Montezuma Mosquito Control District received $191,000 in property taxes to combat the pests this year. The county’s eight cemetery districts combined received $180,000.

Mosquito reproduction, which peaks from late July to late August, only requires sunlit standing fresh water. rime real estate for mosquitoes is any standing water, including boats and boat covers, rain barrels, buckets, swimming pools, tires, livestock troughs, flowerpots and ponds.

“Now that the monsoon season is upon us, it is important to be aware of standing water near your home,” said Carruth.

Carruth believes most cases of West Nile virus are preventable. In addition to ensuring no standing water, he suggested always wearing mosquito repellent with DEET when outdoors during high mosquito activity, early evening to mid morning.

“Repellents with higher percent DEET are usually more effective,” said Carruth. “Long shirts and pants will also make it harder for the mosquito to find exposed skin.”

If unable to remove standing water, such as a pond, Carruth said help was available for those needing assistance. The Colorado Mosquito Control can dispatch a technician to inspect and treat water if necessary, and the agency also fogs when requested.

“The West Nile virus is here to stay,” said Carruth. “Reducing the risk is everyone’s responsibility.”

For more about the Colorado Mosquito Control, call (970) 565-9134.