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County improves mosquito control

Daniel Wysmulek is the environmentalist for the Marengo County Health Department. His job involves inspecting restaurants for health codes, permitting and inspecting of septic systems, dealing with animal bites and also pest control in the county. Here, he discusses recent improvements in the county&8217;s mosquito control programs.

Q: Recently the county received some grant funds for the mosquito control program. Can you tell me about how and where those funds will be used?

A: We received a grant from the Center for Disease Control through our epidemiology and local health department. Basically the money from the county, the city of Linden and the city of Demopolis, is to supplement their mosquito control program. What they do with the money and how they spend it varies. Most of them bought chemicals and equipment.

Q: Why was this agency issuing these grant funds?

A: It was actually a result Hurricane Katrina. Marengo County was one of the counties affected by it. Those counties that applied and were affected by the hurricane received the grant money.

Q: How does a hurricane have an effect on mosquitoes?

A: Mosquitoes eggs can lay dormant until they are touched by water. In drought areas when creeks and backwaters dry up, and then you get a lot of rain it causes and over abundance in the population of mosquitoes.

Q: Did all three of these municipalities already have mosquito control programs?

A: The funds were to either start one or supplement the one they have, and I believe they had one.

Q: How important is mosquito control in our area?

A: There are various health issues with mosquitoes, obviously everyone has heard of West Nile virus kicking up. That&8217;s an issue, along with encephalitis.

Q: How can people prevent mosquitoes from becoming a problem?

A: Some general guidelines to prevent mosquitoes on your property are to not have standing water. Mosquitoes have to have water to breed. Other things like tires in your yard will cause them to have a habitat. Some people have containers in their yards, which will cause mosquito habitats. Those are the main things. You&8217;re never going to eliminate them, but if you take certain steps you can help prevent them.

Q: What does the health department do to get this information out there?

A: We try to get information out; a lot of it is education and getting people to understand the issues. This time of year we do get a lot more complaints because people are outside more playing ball, sports events and thing like that.

Q: When the health department does get mosquito-related complaints, what is your

course of action?

A: If the complaint is within a city&8217;s limits, we will refer the person to city and have them possibly go by and spray some more. If it&8217;s in the county, such as a big pile of tires, we&8217;ll take care of it. But obviously, in the county we&8217;re going to have mosquitoes because there are always swamps and creeks and things like that.