EAGLE COUNTY — Much as we loathe them, mosquitos are part of life here, especially following a wet winter.
Most of us swat, swear and scratch when beset by the biting bugs. These days, though, it’s a good idea to stay un-bitten if possible, thanks to the possibility of contracting West Nile virus.
West Nile hasn’t yet been reported in Eagle County — there was only one case reported last year, the first since 2006 — but Jennifer Ludwig, the county’s public health director, said this is a virus you really, really, don’t want to catch.
Symptoms of Virus
Symptoms include everything from body aches to fevers to flu-like intestinal distress, Ludwig said. Worse, the symptoms, and extreme fatigue, can last for months.
And, while the virus hasn’t appeared here, it has been reported elsewhere in Colorado. Public health officials in Adams, Boulder, Delta, Mesa and Weld counties have all reported finding the “culex” mosquitos that carry the virus. That means travel to those areas — for anything from camping to 4-H Club events — can result in a potentially unpleasant time after returning.
“It’s not something you want to mess around with,” Ludwig said of the virus.
Again, though, Eagle County has few, if any, of the culex bugs this year.
Still, any mosquito bite is annoying at best, and nights when the flying, biting vermin appear numerous enough to carry off a house cat can be downright unpleasant.
Colorado Mosquito Control
That’s why the town of Gypsum has contracted with Colorado Mosquito Control to spray around town — every Thursday, weather permitting. Gypsum Town Manager Jeff Shroll said some residents complain, but most seem to favor the practice. And the town council favors the practice. Still, spraying on public property can only do so much.
“It’s hard when property to the west of us doesn’t spray,” Shroll said. “Then mosquitos just blow upstream.”
Still, the town is fighting the good fight. Spraying will continue into August, and property owners who want Colorado Mosquito Control to spray on their land can hire the firm.
But, Shroll said, the company is “getting spread thin” right now with demand for its services.
We can’t eliminate mosquitos. But between spraying and taking some personal precautions, we can at least keep them at bay.