FORT COLLINS - On a day the Larimer County Health Department announced the number of West Nile cases in the county continues to grow; many of those who oppose spraying for mosquitoes attended a city council meeting to voice their concerns.
A group called "No Spray Fort Collins" had more than 1,000 "likes" on Facebook as of Tuesday afternoon.
Cheryl Distaso, who heads Fort Collins Community Action Network, says that number reflects a community opposed to the use of permethrin, a pesticide that has been sprayed at night by fog trucks contracted by the city.
"It's a community health crisis to have a known carcinogen and poison blanket sprayed on our city," said Distaso.
City officials took direction from the head of the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment. The city has sprayed off and on since 2003, when West Nile virus killed 9 people and infected more than 500 people in the county.
"At this time, 2013 looks like it will be the worst West Nile outbreak in Larimer County since 2003. Of the cases reported so far, eight of those have had the neuroinvasive form," Dr. Adrienne LeBailly, director of the county health department, said in a press release.
Mike Calhoon is a parks supervisor with the City of Fort Collins who coordinates the city's spraying. He's heard the criticism.
"They feel like we're just pulling out a big hammer, and we're just hitting the whole town. What I like to tell people is that this is the last tool we have in the toolbox," Calhoon said.
The city is holding a meeting again in October to discuss this year's spraying and what the policy will be going forward.
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