Colorado Receives $150,000 to Assist With West Nile Virus Costs

DENVER -- The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced Friday that Colorado will receive $150,000 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help pay for West Nile virus prevention efforts in the state this year.


Douglas H. Benevento, the department's executive director, said the department received official notification Friday morning that the funds are to be allocated to the state.


"This is very good news," Benevento said. "The department has been working hard, with the strong support of the state's congressional delegation, to obtain federal funds to assist those Colorado counties that have been hardest hit by West Nile virus this year. These are the counties that have had to spend local funds on prevention efforts."


Assisting in the effort were U.S. Senator Wayne Allard, R-Colorado; U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colorado; and U.S. Representative Scott McInnis, R-Colorado.


Benevento said the funds will be prorated and divided among the state's counties that have had West Nile virus cases this year.


Of the 265 West Nile virus cases recorded in Colorado this year, 125 have been in Mesa County where all three of the state's deaths this year from the virus have been recorded. The latest West Nile virus death involved a 79-year-old Grand Junction man and was announced Thursday by the Mesa County Health Department.


The other two deaths also involved elderly Grand Junction residents.


In mid-August 2003, the Department of Public Health and Environment received a $500,000 grant from CDC to assist in the state's West Nile virus prevention efforts last year. Those funds also were prorated and divided among affected Colorado counties.


In 2004, Colorado recorded 2,947 West Nile virus cases and 63 deaths from the disease.


Source: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment