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Local News: West Nile Still Present on Western Slope

CBS Denver

Summer is waning, and the Western Slope is already starting to feel some fall weather. But Delta County is still a breeding spot for mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus. KVNF’s Marty Durlin reports.

On Monday, County Health officer Bonnie Koehler told the Commissioners that Delta County is still “getting slammed” with the virus. The County has registered some of the highest incidence of the virus in the state all summer long, and at last count, had 25 confirmed cases. Koehler says the culex mosquitoes that carry the virus are still breeding, in puddles as small as 4 inches across.

"These are what we call hot tub mosquitoes, so just tiny pools of water that stand where the water temperature becomes elevated are a magnet for culex. The worst thing for me is horsehooves around a feed trough or a water tank where those little four-inch pools get a film of water and that’s enough for culex," said Koehler.

The state of Colorado now pays for tests to confirm West Nile virus for anyone under-insured or uninsured. Koehler says more than half of the cases confirmed in Delta County were found in this way. She emphasizes the need to eliminate standing water and continue to protect yourself, since the mosquitoes will stick around until the first hard freeze, at least.

Marty Durlin contributes freelance news features, including coverage of Delta County Commissioner's meetings and local governmental issues.