FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Some Fort Collins residents are being told to stay home Sunday, when crews will spray for mosquitoes due to high levels of West Nile virus this summer.
The advice issued by City of Fort Collins leaders Tuesday came a day after the state reported it had detected its first human case of West Nile virus in La Plata County.
So far this year, West Nile virus has been found in eight counties across the state (Arapahoe, Boulder, Delta, Denver, La Plata, Larimer, Pueblo and Weld), and scientists said this year's rainy spring and summer seasons will contribute to a surge in the mosquito population for the 2023 season.
Fort Collins residents affected by the spray zone will be those living along these areas:
- College Avenue/Highway 1
- Douglas Road
- Giddings Road
- Mountain Vista Drive
- Interstate 25
- Drake Road
City leaders said residents should keep doors and windows closed for 30-60 minutes after the spraying is done. Pesticide exposure can also be minimized by covering gardens, ponds and water features in yard with a sheet or tarp.
The City of Fort Collins said it consulted with the parks and recreation departments, Poudre School District and Colorado State University inside the spray zone. City leaders will adjust the schedule to spray later in the evening Sunday after any scheduled events in the area are over.
While most people infected with West Nile virus don’t experience symptoms, some can become seriously ill and even die, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).
Symptoms of West Nile virus appear two to 14 days after exposure, with 1 in 5 people developing fever, body aches, headache and occasionally skin rashes and swollen nymph nodes.
The top recommendations to protect yourself:
- Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and socks in areas where mosquitoes are active
- Use an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol
- Eliminate sources of standing water near your home, which can become a breeding ground for the mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus
Colorado’s first human case of West Nile for 2023 detected in La Plata County
The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment recommended the City of Fort Collins spray for the mosquitoes in accordance with the city's West Nile Virus management policy, health leaders said.
Fort Collins residents can track the GPS on the trucks spraying for mosquitoes here to know when they will be in a certain area and officials advised those in the spray zones should take the necessary precautions to protect their home and their family.