The North Fork Mosquito Abatement District has a comprehensive trapping program and sets traps regularly within the boundaries of the district from June to September.
There are approximately 18 traps set weekly in the NFMAD district by the volunteers. There are 10 traps set by the Delta County Health Department, five in the Delta area and five in the Surface Creek area.
The ONLY reason the health department knew that there was WNV in the early part of the season in the NFMAD district was due to the work of the NFMAD volunteers.
Trapping mosquitoes is not that difficult, but, and this is a big but, you have to be very careful about using repellant! You can't get repellant anywhere near the traps, you can't have it on your hands, you can't spray it on in between setting a trap here and setting a trap there. In other words, the trapping crews put themselves at risk every time they go out!
And that's not the whole story: There are the counters and identifiers. Again, it is volunteers who count and identify every mosquito caught. The culex are separated off and sent down to the health department, which then forwards them to a lab where WNV testing is performed. When WNV is found in a batch, people in that area and the entire county are notified.
The county has admitted that it does not have the personnel or funds to take over the 28 trap sites within the NFMAD District and Delta County.
If it weren't for NFMAD volunteers, there would be fewer mosquitoes trapped, identified, culex sorted and batches prepared for testing. No one would know that West Nile virus was active in the area or at the very least it would be less likely that people would know ahead of a human or animal case. Is ignorance bliss?
I heard someone smirk and make a negative comment about the appreciation party that was given for the volunteers. Give me a break. These people are doing a fabulous job, putting themselves at risk, and providing invaluable information to you and the Delta County Health Department. I heard Ken Nordstrom say over and over that, "We found the virus much earlier than usual." We who? The NFMAD volunteer team in cooperation with Delta County — that's who.
I'm writing this because I would like everyone to know who should be getting the credit in the Hotchkiss and Paonia area for the early warnings and comprehensive monitoring. NFMAD. I just want to see credit served where credit is due.
In appreciation for all who work to help to keep us informed. Keeping safe is a personal responsibility.
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