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City, county ready for mosquito outbreak

By DAVID TEWES
Sept. 8, 2010 at 4:08 a.m.


DIFFERENT MIXThe health department will be using a different chemical mix to treat standing water for mosquito larvae.

Cindy Shilinga with the Victoria County Health Department said the mix should last seven or eight days. The previous chemical lasted only about a day, she said.

The buzzing sound of mosquitoes is likely to return to Victoria County within a matter of days, but city and county mosquito fighters said they're ready.

"We haven't gotten any complaints on mosquitoes out in the county for the last few months," said Cindy Shilinga with the Victoria County Health Department. "But I am expecting some type of breakout."

That's because of the heavy rain Tropical Storm Hermine brought to the Crossroads during three days this week, leaving behind pools of water.

Bain Cate, director of the health department, wrote in an e-mail he has no doubt mosquitoes will be a problem for two or three weeks. He said that's why he's urging people to protect themselves in hopes of avoiding mosquito-borne diseases.

That includes not going outside at dawn or dusk, wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants and liberal use of mosquito repellant containing DEET, Cate wrote.

Other methods of mosquito pest control that have made it into the retail market have not been proven to reduce disease, but can reduce the number of mosquitoes within residents' personal space, he wrote.

He said residents can also help by getting rid of standing water on their property.

Shilinga said workers will begin treating standing water in the more populated areas outside of Victoria for larvae as soon as the rain ends and the water stops running. Shilinga said that could be as early as Thursday or Friday.

She said she's hopeful that a return of the heat and a different chemical mix being used to treat larvae will reduce or eliminate the need for fogging for flying adults.

"I'm not really worried about fogging right now," she said. "It's going to be at least a week before they hatch out after the rain stops."

Kevin Stewart, the city's assistant director of parks and recreation, said he's also expecting a big outbreak of the pests in Victoria.

He said once the rain ends, city crews will begin treating standing water and fogging at the same time. That could begin Friday, based on the weather forecast, he said.

"As soon as the weather breaks, we're going to hit the ground running," Stewart said. "We've had water on the ground for five or six days."

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