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Mosquito Spraying In Northern Colorado Brings Backlash

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West Nile Spraying (credit: CBS)

West Nile Spraying (credit: CBS)

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Backlash from mosquito spraying in Northern Colorado was expecting to bring dozens together Tuesday night to protest in Fort Collins.

It’s a heated argument. Those opposed to the spraying say the insecticide is bad for the environment. City officials say protecting against West Nile virus is more important.

For the fifth time in 11 years the city of Fort Collins has hired contractors to monitor and spray mosquito larva throughout the city during the day. At night they spray insecticide in high risk areas hoping to curb the alarming number of human West Nile virus in Larimer County.

“I feel like if we weren’t doing our job the city would be over-run with mosquitoes,” a contractor said.

The growing number of cases has triggered the city’s spray policy.

“We’re looking at this probably being the worst year since 2003, at least in Larimer County,” a health official told CBS4.

In 2003 Larimer County reported nine West Nile deaths. Health officials say this year is showing signs for the same threat.

“We believe that all 28 cases that we have as of today were infected in July, and of those, eight are the neuroinvasive, serious forms,” the health official said.

But the city’s preventative measures are stirring up debate on the street and online, forcing the city council to open its doors to the opposition.

“How long does it take to dissipate into the air?” a Fort Collins resident said.

“One of the rolls of government is to figure out what is that balance, what is the risk, and what is the benefit that is occurring,” Fort Collins Mayor Karen Weitkunat said.

Tuesday’s city council meeting plans to take public comment about the current spray policy. Those opposing are hoping to change the cities requirements to spray. City officials will use the audience to share statistics about West Nile virus and the threat it poses to Larimer County.

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