Health district fighting mosquito pests

By Kelsey Leyva -

Two confirmed cases of the West Nile virus in Cuyahoga and Hamilton County aren’t causing panic at the Lorain County General Health District.

County health commissioner David Covell said the district will continue with its original plan to manage mosquito populations. He said there’s always a chance for someone to get the virus but it’s not to the point where hundreds of people are coming down with it like in 2002.

The district’s mosquito control program runs all summer long and is comprised of three main parts.

First is reducing the amount of standing water or treating standing water. Another piece is education about how homeowners should clean out their gutters and turn over bird baths to avoid standing water.

Second is a campaign urging residents to avoid mosquitoes and wear repellent.

The third piece is adulticide, which is the spraying of adult mosquitoes. It starts around the third week in July and continues through August when there is the largest number of mosquitoes and the largest amount of virus in play.

Amherst was sprayed for the first time on Monday, Aug. 3 and is expected to receive a a second adulticiding near the end of the month.

In terms of adult control, Covell said it’s easier to spray in an area with a lot of streets (such as a development) than it is to spray on the open road. But larval control is more efficient than trying to manage adults.

“So we adjust our program based on what the local scenario is,” he said. “We can’t eliminate all of the mosquitoes. We just try to limit the population any way we can.”

If any other cases of West Nile are identified in the county, health district workers will be among the first to know.

“We have a nurse that monitors all diseases in the community through the hospitals and the doctors’ offices and West Nile virus is one of those diseases but it’s everything from salmonella to shigella, you name it,” Covell said.

Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.

By Kelsey Leyva