New Iberia Mosquito Control Officials Planning Aerial Spraying - KLFY News 10

August 13, 2006

New Iberia Mosquito Control Officials Planning Aerial Spraying

The state Department of Health and Hospitals has reported 29 human West Nile cases so far this year, the nearest being in Vermilion Parish.

Iberia Parish officials, who learned of two positive mosquito pools in their backyard last week, say that's too close for comfort.

That's why the mosquito control department head is looking to the skies to fight the problem.

When the Iberia Parish in-house mosquito program took off in May, it set up a surveillance program to identify mosquitoes and where they linger to set up abatement strategies.

Program director, Mike Stockstill, says when mosquito pools test positive for West Nile virus, spraying efforts are escalated.

Stockstill says it's done in a one-mile radius for three consecutive evenings, a technique that is currently under way just outside of Delcambre and near bank Avenue Park, where two pools tested positive last week.

Because the DHH and Louisiana Mosquito Control Association have determined the problem will continue to grow, Stockstill is looking for a more advanced method in controlling mosquito populations.

Stockstill says Mosquito Control is going to do various spraying to provide a buffer zone between the propagated and inhabited areas of the parish.

Stockstill is referring to contracting a plane that will spray 73 gallons of chemicals over those areas.

But, at a cost of $1,200 per hour and a $133,000 budget, Stockstill is not sure how far that method will go.

He says if necessary, the parish will dip into its $500,000 emergency contingency account to fund additional applications.

Stockstill says he is working with an aviation company to contract a plane.

Stockstill says officials are looking for a drying trend to attempt to do the first aerial application in the southern part of the parish.

Stockstill says that could take place in as soon as two weeks.

West Nile surveillance has also been taken up a notch in Lafayette and St. Mary parishes.

Experts say they've added sentinel chickens and additional trapping methods in both parishes in efforts to detect the virus before it is transmitted to humans.

The Centers for Disease Control says so far this year, 33 states have reported West Nile activity.

Cheryl Fatzer, TV 10 Eyewitness News

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