Wednesday July 21, 2004
Mayor Jerry Abramson today announced steps Louisville Metro Government is taking this summer to expand its mosquito control efforts. Abramson said for the second straight year more than 230 Metro Government employees, across eight departments, are involved in abatement efforts as part of the Mosquito Control Team or SWAT team. That’s compared to less than a dozen that were available before the merged government.
The effort, which is led by the Health Department, focuses on educating the public about how to reduce mosquito breeding grounds and responding to citizen complaints about problem areas.
This year, Abramson said, the expanded efforts include working directly with neighborhoods and property owners on training so that they can maintain their own property.
Already, Health Department officials have worked with mobile home parks, apartment complexes, churches and other groups to develop individual treatment plans and determine which treatment products will work best in their areas. In addition, the Health Department has added a “Fogging Hotline” – 574-6641 – that lists the areas for fogging each week.
Health Department staff members already have logged almost 100 hours of fogging time this year. The information is listed on the Health Department’s web site at http://health.co.jefferson.ky.us. That site can also be accessed through the Metro Government web address at www.loukymetro.org. The expanded efforts, Abramson said, are particularly timely in the wake of storms this spring and summer that have pummeled the area.
“The increased rain and storms this season have other, potentially harmful consequences,” Abramson said. “One of them is that more standing water increases the risks and dangers posed by mosquitoes, which can spread diseases that sicken and, in some cases, kill.”
The Health Department and Metropolitan Sewer District have received more than 1,100 calls from citizens with mosquito concerns. So far this year only two birds have tested positive for the West Nile Virus.
Agencies such as the MSD and Public Works Department are continuing this year to use larvacide briquettes to treat hundreds of locations throughout the community where standing water can become mosquito breeding grounds.
And, as MSD and Public Works crews continue to cut grass across thousands of miles of ditches, streams and drainage channels, they are placing ALTOSID briquettes containing a larvacide that attacks the mosquito larvae and prevents them from maturing into biting adults.
“We’re effectively adding to the number of people – the 230 from Metro Government -- who will be able to fight this problem by working with neighbors, neighborhoods and other property owners on training so that they can maintain their own property,” Abramson said. “Our continued success will require vigilance on everyone’s part to ensure safety and that, together, we’re doing everything possible to address this serious health concern.”
Tips to Avoid West Nile
Eliminate mosquito-breeding places around your house to guard against West Nile. Remember - some mosquitoes need less than a ¼ inch of water to breed. Water can collect in places you might not think of. So make sure your yard doesn’t become a mosquito breeding ground – eliminate all standing water.
· Get rid of old tires. Water collects in the inside and breeds mosquitoes.
· Empty birdbaths and pet water bowls every couple of days. · Clean your gutters so they don’t hold water.
· Empty your children’s wading pools every couple of days and store them upside down so they don’t collect water.
· And don’t forget to get the water out of low spots on tarps and swimming pool covers.
· In places where you can’t eliminate the standing water, such as in ornamental ponds, use products now available at stores and at home and garden centers to inhibit mosquito breeding.
Wear insect repellant containing DEET, especially going outdoors at dawn and at dusk and in the early evening when mosquitoes are most active. For adults, the insect repellant should contain concentrations of DEET from 20 – 35%; for children the concentrations should be 10% or less.
Parents should not apply insect repellant to children younger than age 2. Parents should apply the insect repellant to children rather than allowing the children to put it on themselves. Avoid putting repellant on children’s hands because the children are likely to put their hands to their eyes and mouth. It’s also a good idea to give children a bath or shower before putting them to bed at night if they have been wearing insect repellant containing DEET.
People should also wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when going outdoors. The elderly and those with compromised immune systems might also want to consider staying indoors at dawn, dusk and in the early evening when mosquitoes are most active.