Unusual rainfall in Colorado over the past three months and days of record-breaking temperatures this year have created ideal conditions for mosquitoes, including those that transmit West Nile virus, to breed, officials said.
This is what epidemiology experts at the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) have found the number of mosquitoes infected with West Nile Virus and the geographic distribution of these mosquitoes is “the highest” rrecorded by local health authorities for decades.
“The trends we’re seeing in the data we’re tracking on West Nile virus are unprecedented,” Rachel Herlihy, an epidemiologist at CDPHE, said in a statement, noting that September is usually the month with the highest numbers human infections is Colorado.
At the beginning of August, the CDPHE had confirmed 12 human infections in 8 counties in northern Colorado and the Denver area, calling the situation “atypical” as there are generally fewer than 10 cases recorded in the state at this time of year.
Latest data as of last August 25, Report 103 infections in Colorado, the second highest number in the country after that Texas (130), surpassing California (96) and Nebraska (69).
In Colorado, some cities and counties have resumed their spraying programs, which typically take place in May.
The increase in the number of mosquitoes in the culex species, That’s amazing, Boulder County Health Department official Shawn Hollister told local press.
However, not everyone agrees with spraying, pointing out that insecticides kill not only mosquitoes, but also bees and other insects. In response, residents of the town of Longmont (northern Colorado) Monday launched an education campaign about both the benefits of fumigation and the long-term effects of West Nile virus.
Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced last Friday that they are monitoring the situation because the same mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus can also transmit other diseases, including dengue fever and malaria , both of which were discovered this year, the United States with 9 cases of malaria and 642 cases of dengue fever.