Some Colorado communities are hoping for some help from the government to fight mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus.
Colorado has been the hardest hit state in the nation. There are now 450 cases reported in the state. According to the state health department, 58 new cases of West Nile virus were reported in humans on Tuesday. Of those total cases, El Paso County has had nine, Pueblo County has had 36 and Fremont County has had 20.
Two of the hardest hit counties in the state are now asking for $4.5 million in federal aid to spray for mosquitoes. Larimer County has reported 58 cases and two deaths, and there are 93 Weld County cases with two deaths reported.
So is El Paso County at-risk of draining its fund to fight West Nile virus? The county health department officials say, "No." Our budget for battling mosquitoes is in good shape thanks to a coalition of local agencies that pay into a fund to fight the virus. The state has also contributed money to help pay for larvacide, spray, light traps, informational pamphlets and posters.
Last September, the El Paso County health department started asking for money and resources from the county and local city governments. That coalition put together nearly $70,000 for supplies and public education. The state also sent El Paso County another $100,000 from a Bioterrorism grant. About $58,000 of the state's contribution is being used to fight West Nile virus. That totals $125,000, and so far, the county has spendt about $90,000.
Health department officials say that remaining money will serve as some cushion for next year's battle against the mosquitoes.
Cities like Colorado Springs, Fountain and Falcon, along with the county, are also contributing man-hours to the health department to help get rid of mosquitoes. That totals about 250-hours per week.