mosquitoes

  Newscast

  • Boy Scouts stranded on snowy mountain trail
  • Health officials concerned over possible mosquito surge
  • Montrose County School District struggles with budget
  • More oil and gas wells planned for Mesa County
  • North Fork residents travel to D.C. to weigh in on Thompson Divide lease swap
Mesa County Health Department

May was the wettest month on record, according to federal data. Colorado also saw its fair share of precipitation last month. 

This increased moisture could mean more mosquitoes and this has health officials concerned. 

The insects reproduce in standing water so when it rains a lot in can create ideal breeding habitat for them. 

Thomas Orr, a regional epidemiologist at the Mesa County Health Department, says more mosquitoes could lead to more cases of West Nile.

California's historic drought is partly to blame for the recent rise in West Nile virus infections, public health officials say. There have been 311 cases reported so far, double the number of the same time last year, and the most of any state in the country.

West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes. They contract the virus when they feed on infected birds, then spread it to the birds they bite next. A shortage of water can accelerate this cycle.

Marty Durlin, KVNF

On the Almanac last week, P Kaech reported seeing snow on the top of Mt. Baldy near Crested Butte, and Andrea Lecos noticed that monsoon rains have brought up mosquitoes and other insects. Humans may hate the bugs, but birds are feasting on them. 

2012 was a bad year for West Nile Virus in Western Colorado. Mesa, Montrose and Delta Counties accounted for nearly half the confirmed cases in the state. In Delta County, the 22 cases included the death of an 82-year-old man from Orchard City.

Headlines:

  • April 15 deadline for BLM to satisfy lawsuit
  • Senator Michael Bennet calls for Thompson Divide protections
  • Cotter Corporation to clean uranium spill with molasses
  • Mosquito Abatement District prepares for early start to season
  • Crane Count from Fruitgrowers Reservoir
mosquito
Andrew Cranson

Last week, the Delta County Health department reported three additional cases of West Nile Virus among residents. That brings the total number of confirmed and suspect human cases of the virus in the county to 20–most of which have resulted in uncomplicated fever. Most of the reported cases have been in the Delta and North Fork areas, and on Saturday, the town of Hotchkiss sprayed to kill adult mosquitoes. For KVNF and the iSeeChange project, Julia Kumari Drapkin takes a closer look at why mosquitoes and West Nile Virus are thriving in a DROUGHT year and whether community efforts to spray late in the season will pay off.

Produced by Julia Kumari Drapkin, the iSeeChange project at KVNF is part of Localore, a nationwide production of AIR designed to accelerate transformation and extend public service media to all Americans.   KVNF was selected as one of  only 10 Localore stations across the country—learn more at airmediaworks.org. Localore is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Wyncote Foundation, the John T. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Interactive storytelling partner Zeega co-produced TheAlmanac.org with iSeeChange.