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TRUMBULL COUNTY Health offices take on West Nile



Published: Wed, April 30, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



Many townships have contracted for mosquito spraying.

By STEPHEN SIFF

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- Health departments in Trumbull County are hatching plans to take the bite out of summer.

The cities of Warren, Niles and Girard, as well as the county health department, are planning to start dropping larvicide pellets in potential mosquito-breeding grounds over the next few weeks.

Spraying is also expected to take place in the cities, as needed, and many other villages and townships have contracted with private companies for the service.

Many cities and townships have been waging chemical warfare against these pesky pests for years, but concern about mosquitoes has increased over the past few years as West Nile Virus has crept into Ohio.

The virus, borne by the stinging bugs, can be transmitted to birds, horses and people, and is potentially fatal.

Last year's cases

Statewide, there were 31 deaths from the disease last year and 441 probable or confirmed cases, including two in Trumbull County and three in Mahoning. The virus is most dangerous to the elderly.

"West Nile is a threat," said Warren deputy health commissioner Robert Pinti. "We have a geriatric population in this area. You have to do what you can to protect them."

The Warren Health Department has allocated $7,000 for anti-mosquito programs this summer. The backbone of the department's efforts will be to disperse time-released larvicide pellets into storm sewer catch basins and stagnant ponds where the bugs breed.

Attacking mosquitoes at this point is more effective than spraying for adults, he said. The department did acquire truck-based spraying equipment last year, which could be used to spray parks for grown mosquitoes.

Girard plan

In Girard, the emphasis also is on spreading larvicide to reduce the need for spraying, said health commissioner James Dobson.

His department has spent $600 on larvicide pellets that are supposed to work for 150 days.

The county health department will also spread larvicide pellets into ditches and stagnant ponds and will send workers out with the pellets in response to complaints, said Dr. James Enyeart, health commissioner.

Homeowners also have to make sure they are not harboring mosquito-breeding places: stagnant birdbaths, old tires, outdoor planters or even clogged gutters.

Mosquitos can breed anywhere water is allowed to sit.

Niles

In Niles, officials plan to combine larvicide with three or four sprayings over the course of the summer, depending on weather.

The city contracts with Alexander Pest Control of New Springfield to spray, for about $1,200 an application, said Niles health commissioner Michael Burke. A single application can keep down the number of mosquitoes for days or weeks, again depending on the weather.

Many other townships and municipalities have contracts with Alexander, including Howland, Champion, Bazetta, Braceville, Hubbard City, Vienna, Warren Township, Lordstown, Newton Falls, Newton Township, Liberty and Cortland, said owner Steve Miller.

siff@vindy.com




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