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tremor
09-18-2002, 08:31 PM
I live in Stratford where Resmethrin will be applied weekly beginning today near our public Boat Launch & sewage treatment plant. This area's Mosquito traps have yielded WNV positive skeeters all summer.

As controversial as this issue has turned out to be, this IS the right thing to do at this point. My town utilizes BTI Mosquito Dunks all season as appropriate. We also make tidal cuts into the coastal marshes to introduce feeding fishes to the skeeter breeding grounds. Some even get washed out with the changing tide.

All this does help. But this year has been different. The pressure is too high to continue to do nothing.

This article appeared in todays Conn. Post & was clipped without permission. Sorry.

________Steve___________________________________



Article Last Updated:
Wednesday, September 18, 2002 - 3:37:24 AM MST

Area communities to spray mosquitoes.

Spray coming against virus DEP can't pay communities.

By MARIAN GAIL BROWN and STEVEN SCARPA Staff writers

As pesticide-toting trucks get ready to rumble through the streets of Stratford, Stamford and Greenwich today and Thursday to ward off West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes, health directors are being warned: the state Department of Environmental Protection has no money to cover spraying costs.

However, there is a chance the municipalities may recoup some of their expenses, estimated at thousands of dollars per town, through the state Office of Policy and Management.

The communities announced their spraying plans Tuesday as the state Department of Public Health confirmed that a Plainville man in his 40s is the sixth Connecticut resident diagnosed with West Nile this summer.

The man became infected during the third week of August, but was diagnosed and treated while traveling out of state earlier this month, the department said. He has since been released from the hospital and is recovering.

There have been no deaths in Connecticut this summer from West Nile.

The state health department also reported that as of Monday, 261 dead wild birds tested positive for West Nile in 63 communities, including Bridgeport, Fairfield, Milford, Monroe, Newtown, New Canaan, Norwalk, Orange, Stratford, Trumbull and Westport in our region.

Also as of Monday, mosquitoes trapped in a dozen towns tested positive for the disease, including Bridgeport, Darien, Greenwich, Stamford, Norwalk and Stratford.

As the number of West Nile cases ratcheted up in the state, Stamford Health Director Dr. Anthony Iton pressed the state health department for an order to spray resmetherin to knock down mosquitoes.

"I finally decided how many human cases are enough to justify pesticide spraying. How many dead crows are enough? How many positive mosquito pools are enough to warrant spraying?" Iton said. "I know we've reached that level here, and that's why I've ordered it myself."

For the past three years, state health and environmental officials have taken a conservative approach to battling West Nile with pesticides, urging personal protection measures such as using insect repellent and wearing sleeved shirts and long pants over pesticide spraying campaigns.

In Stratford, Health Director Elaine O'Keefe emphasized that there would be no pesticide spraying in any neighborhoods. The spraying will take place starting tonight in limited areas, near the town's pollution control facility. "[The facility] is where we have found repeated isolations of West Nile in mosquitoes,"
O'Keefe said, adding that spraying will continue weekly on town property until a frost comes, which would kill the bulk of the mosquitoes carrying the virus.

"[It's a] last resort," O'Keefe said of the pesticide application. "We want to keep down the adult [mosquito] population," she said. "Trying to kill them after they have matured is hard."

OPM Secretary Marc S. Ryan confirmed that he told the commissioners of public health and environmental protection that the state's Office of Policy and Management would find the money to reimburse communities that declare a public health emergency to combat West Nile.

The communities would have to meet certain criteria, such as consulting with the state Department of Public Health, Ryan said. "We would obviously look at what the costs of the spraying were and then reimburse some or all of those costs," Ryan said.

Meanwhile Iton acknowledged that until he received a letter from a state health official he was unsure whether he had the authority to spray and who would cover the costs of the pesticides.

A flurry of "conflicting correspondences" settled that question, Iton said. In one of the memos, DEP Commissioner Arthur J. Rocque Jr. stated that a state health official was wrong when he informed local health directors, through a memo, that the DEP could reimburse municipalities fighting West Nile.

The memo was "inaccurate in its generous offer of financial assistance to municipalities," Rocque said. "As I believe all health directors know, budgetary resources were reduced and [the] DEP has no funds from which to make such reimbursements," Rocque said, although the state Office of Policy and Management has "agreed to assist" municipalities under emergency conditions.

Three patients being treated for the virus at hospitals in Greenwich and Stamford were listed in fair condition Tuesday.

West Nile previously struck two Hartford women, a Greenwich man and woman and a Stamford woman this summer.

Last year six cases were reported in Connecticut including one death.