City to improve mosquito control

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 27, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; The Public Works Department is currently in the process of gaining funding to purchase a new truck and mosquito fogger in addition to nearly a summer&8217;s worth of chemicals to help combat mosquito problems this summer.

Area Environmental Director for Marengo County Parrish Pugh has been instrumental in helping the city get this new equipment. The funding will come from allocations made by the Alabama Department of Epidemiology, which were originally relief funds from Hurricane Katrina through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that were meant to aid in the prevention of West Nile Virus, a disease that has become prevalent in the United States since 1999.

According to Pugh, studies have shown that the continued spread of West Nile Virus means that the virus is now endemic to the area.

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Although mosquitoes have not been particularly high due to the drought, Pugh said they are still a problem for areas near water, such as Demopolis. Pugh warns that people should try to stay indoors during dawn, dusk and early evening, which are peak mosquito biting times.

According to the website for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, West Nile virus is a flavivirus commonly found in Africa, West Asia and the Middle East. It is closely related to St. Louis encephalitis virus, which is also found in the United States. The virus can infect humans, birds, mosquitoes, horses and some other mammals.

The website also says that the best way to prevent West Nile virus is to eliminate any sources of standing water by doing the following:

At least once or twice a week, empty water from flower pots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels and cans.

Check for clogged rain gutters and clean them out.

Remove discarded tires, and other items that could collect water.

Be sure to check for containers or trash in places that may be hard to see, such as under bushes or under your home.

So far this year, there have not been any reported cases of West Nile virus infections in Alabama. There have been, however, four cases reported in Mississippi.