Mosquito Control critical to public health, safety

info@islandpacket.comMay 11, 2012 

Mosquitoes are more than pests, they are carriers of dangerous diseases. More than 1 million people die annually of malaria. Malaria is called "The disease of apathy."

The Southern house mosquito (Culex quinquefasciatus) and other water mosquitoes found here can carry West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis. Through the efforts of Beaufort County Mosquito Control, using a system of storm drainage and spraying, serious problems have been avoided. It's not by luck. It took money and hard work.

In the 1980s, we had the fatality of a boy on St. Helena. He died of Eastern equine encephalitis. Last year, there were cases of West Nile virus in Savannah. Viral diseases travel and mutate. Savannah is not far.

Temperatures worldwide are rising. This last winter was warm. Mosquito Control did its first aerial spraying in February. That's very early.

I've recently learned that the Beaufort County Council has reduced the Mosquito Control budget on the grounds that this is not an essential service, such as police, fire and emergency medical services. These services are essential for public health and safety. Mosquito Control also is essential for public health and safety.

Mosquito Control is already constrained by government and environmental restrictions. Why or how could the county eliminate or further reduce its effectiveness by making budget cuts?

It is a matter that is potentially dangerous to public health. Apathy and failure to fight it now will come back to haunt us. When an outbreak occurs, it is too late.

Val C. Florio


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