Man vs. Mosquito: Health Officials Revving Up for West Nile Fight

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email

The swine flu isn't the only virus that has health officials on alert. As temperatures warm up, the Mesa County Health Department is revving up their fight against west nile virus.

Biologists with the Mesa County Health Department are starting their fight against west nile virus.

It's man versus mosquito and they've started setting traps across the county.

It's the first step in a very long summer for the team.

The scientist will kill as many baby mosquitoes as they can,
one of the most crucial parts in the bug battle says Mesa County Health Department Environmental Health Director Steven Defeyter.

"It's very important to eliminate breeding sites of mosquitoes."

He says the less mosquitoes there are, the less chance that they will carry the deadly virus, West Nile.

"Most people who are infected do not exhibit symptoms but for a percentage of people symptoms can be quite severe," Defeyter told 11 News on Wednesday.

The biologists say they can't reach all the areas of standing water in the area and homeowners who get rid of or treat standing water can be their biggest allies.

"On their personal property in Mesa County where mosquito districts can't get access."

But even though the fight is far from over this year, the health department says it's made a lot of progress over the last seven years since the virus first showed up.

It's gone from 127 human cases in 2004 to zero last year and health officials hope West Nile is gone for good but they'll continue to test and monitor mosquito population just in case the virus shows itself.

Health officials say the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to drain or treat standing water, wear bug spray with deet and wear long pants and long sleeves at dusk and dawn.

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