West Nile test results on dead birds are pending, but regular mosquito tests have come back clean.
By STEPHEN SIFF
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Officials are hatching plans to spray all of Trumbull County against mosquitoes, after the discovery of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus in Lake County.
Spraying will likely not take place until next year and the plan still awaits approval by county commissioners and city and township authorities.
"The concept is still in the design stage," said Michael O'Brien, county commissioner.
The proposal calls for the county health department to conduct regular spraying throughout the county, on rural roads and suburban drives, using equipment mounted on the back of pickup trucks.
The county would buy two to four removable spraying units and put health department employees through the eight hours of training required to operate them, O'Brien said.
Expense: Costs for spraying would be billed to the cities and townships, he said. Full participation is key to the plan's success, he said.
Some townships and municipalities, including Hubbard, Howland and Cortland, have their own mosquito-spraying programs.
"We feel that if we can do it countywide, we can do a better job," said George Bucella, county health department administrator. "Mosquitoes don't know township lines."
Next year, the health department may also implement a program to poison mosquito-breeding ponds against the biting bug's larvae, Bucella said.
Public concern about mosquitoes has swelled in Trumbull County since a blue jay in Lake County was found with the virus.
County birds: Last week, residents from around the county turned seven dead birds over to the health department to be tested for the disease. The bird's frozen carcasses were mailed to a lab on Monday, Bucella said.
Results from those tests, and from tests conducted on two birds sent the previous week, are not yet available.
Bucella said that there is no evidence that birds are dying at a greater rate than usual this year.
The health department also regularly collected mosquitoes to be tested throughout the summer, he said.
All those tests have come back clean.