MOSQUITO ABATEMENT STARTING
The City of Laurel is continuing its efforts against West Nile Virus (WNV) by spraying insecticide citywide to kill adult mosquitoes. The best time to kill adult mosquitoes by fogging is at dusk, when they are most active and looking for food (mosquitoes feed on human or animal blood). The aerosol spray primarily targets flying mosquitoes, which is why the timing of the spray is critical. During the spraying, flying mosquitoes within the treated area are killed. Although the local mosquito population is reduced for a few days, spraying does not prevent mosquitoes from re-entering the area.
Weather permitting, trained mosquito abatement technicians in trucks begin spraying around 7:00 pm and continue through the night until approximately 1:00am. City workers are not allowed to go onto private property (driveways, backyards, etc.) to spray because of time and additional cost to the city. The City of Laurel is divided into four quadrants and each quadrant is sprayed for a period of three days in a row. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends spraying three consecutive days in the same spray area to better combat the increased threat of the West Nile Virus. Adverse weather conditions, such as high winds and rain will cause a postponement of the spraying for the day, and will be re-scheduled for an alternative day.
The material being used to control the adult mosquitoes is a water-based pyrethroid insecticide. It is approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is used to control mosquitoes in outdoor residential and recreational areas. While the spray is not harmful to people or pets and is routinely sprayed in residential areas across the nation, residents of targeted neighborhoods may choose to stay indoors and close their windows while spraying is underway, as an extra precaution.
West Nile Virus infection can cause a relatively mild illness called West Nile Fever, characterized by fever, muscle aches, rash and headache. Thus far in 2013, there have been no human cases of West Nile Fever reported in Jones County. Most humans who are bitten by a mosquito carrying the WNV do not become ill: on average, only about 2 in 10 people who are bitten by an infected mosquito will actually become ill. However, those infected with WNV can develop severe illness and can result in death.
City officials want to also remind citizens that common sense precautions are the best way to avoid mosquito bites that could carry the virus. The most important steps for combating WNV are the common sense personal precautions that every resident can take:
- Use insect repellant containing DEET according to the label.
- Consider limiting outdoor activity after dark (dusk to dawn), which is when mosquitoes are most active.
- When outside between dusk and dawn, wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing that includes long pants, long-sleeved shirts, socks and shoes.
- Check to see that all screen on doors and windows are tight-fitting and free of holes and tears.
To limit mosquito breeding opportunities:
- drain and replace water in birdbaths and children’s wading pools every four to five days;
- properly dispose of old tires, jars, cans, pans, bottles, buckets and other unwanted containers that can hold standing water;
- make sure that rain gutters, downspouts, swimming pools and pool covers are free of standing water;
- keep grass and weeds cut short to eliminate hiding places for adult mosquitoes.
For more prevention tips and updates on West Nile Virus, visit the Mississippi State Department of Health at http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/14,0,93.html or by calling the Mississippi‘s West Nile Hotline: 877-978-6453.