Funding cuts, economy result in more West Nile virus cases

Government spending cuts and a difficult economy are two factors in the increased spread of West Nile virus via mosquitoes this year, according to new reports.

In Florida, the Lee County Mosquito Control District has lost 13 percent of its revenue since 2007. The nation's largest mosquito control district experienced a drop of tax revenue from $16 million in 2007 to $13.1 million in 2012 because of the real estate bust, USA Today reports.

Budget cuts in mosquito control programs also occurred this year in Nevada, Delaware, West Virginia, Colorado and North Carolina.

The Washoe County Health District in Reno, Nevada, experienced a budget cut from $6.9 million to $5.8 million, dropping the number of employees in its mosquito team to just three. Delaware's Mosquito Control Section experienced a budget slash of 25 percent in the last three years. Kanawha County, West Virginia, has the equipment, traps, nets and microscopes to fight mosquitoes, but after losing its funding several years ago, there are no trained people to use the equipment, according to USA Today.

Fort Collins, Colorado, had its mosquito abatement budget cut by one-third in 2011 and stopped all storm-drain inspections and treatments, while North Carolina's entire Public Pest Management Section was laid off in July 2011.

Due to home foreclosures in California, more swimming pools have gone unmaintained, leading to mosquito breeding grounds that can produce millions of mosquitoes weekly, USA Today reports.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of reported West Nile virus cases stands at 1,221, much higher than the 2011 total of 53 by mid-August.