Wednesday May 7, 2003
Mayor Jerry Abramson today unveiled an “unprecedented team approach across the merged government” to control mosquitoes and protect public health throughout Louisville Metro.
In recent years, only a handful of Health Department employees have been available to attack the mosquito problem. This year, some 200 employees across eight departments in the merged government will work in coordinated fashion as the Louisville Metro Mosquito Control Team.
“Mosquitoes are not just a nuisance, they are health threat to our citizens,” Abramson said during a news conference at the old Louisville Motor Speedway site near Okolona. “Mosquitoes can spread diseases that sicken, and in some cases, kill.”
Abramson said the Health Department will continue to be the lead government agency for mosquito control throughout Louisville Metro, focusing on educating the public about how to reduce mosquito breeding grounds, treating standing water to prevent breeding, monitoring mosquito-borne diseases and responding to citizen complaints.
The expanded approach to the problem will include the Metropolitan Sewer District and Public Works Department, which will use larvacide briquettes to treat hundreds of locations throughout the community where standing water can become mosquito breeding grounds.
As MSD and Public Works crews this summer cut grass across thousands of miles of ditches, streams and drainage channels, workers will place ALTOSID briquettes containing a larvacide that attacks the mosquito larvae and prevents them from maturing into biting adults.
Abramson’s news conference this morning was held in front of one such location – a major drainage channel, the Southern Ditch, which serves much of southwest Louisville Metro. When standing water accumulates in the ditch, it can become a prime location for mosquito breeding.
Other departments and their primary roles in mosquito control include:
· Public Works, which will spread the larvacide primarily on roadside ditches with standing water.
· Solid Waste Management Services, which will empty standing water from containers found in alleys, and properly dispose of waste tires.
· Inspections, Permits and Licensing, which will provide mosquito control information to residents and businesses with complaints and issue orders for corrections at mosquito breeding sites.
· The Louisville Water Company, which will investigate reported water line leaks and treat standing water for mosquito control until repairs can be completed.
· Metro Animal Care, which will distribute brochures and educate pet owners about the dangers involved.
· Metro Parks, which will eliminate or treat sources of standing water in Metro Parks.
· Facilities Management, which will eliminate or treat sources of standing water on public properties.
In addition, Abramson announced Louisville Metro Government will invest $20,000 in a new computerized Vector Control Management System to help monitor and map mosquito control efforts across the community.
This system will include computer software and hand-held computers that can be used by workers in the field. This high-tech approach to mosquito fighting, which will make use of Global Positioning Satellite technology, will allow the Health Department to coordinate the efforts of the Metro Government agencies to treat standing water, to track citizen complaints and to improve efficiency in all efforts.
“Merger gives us the opportunity to bring a host of government resources to the fight,” Abramson said. “Our Mosquito Control Team – you might call them our Mosquito SWAT team – will bring an unprecedented level of activity and coordination to the challenge of containing and mitigating this serious health concern.”