Mosquito Control – Health Effects from City Foggers

Mosquitoes are more than a summer nuisance. They can spread serious disease to humans and animals. However, people are justifiably concerned when plans are announced to spray entire neighborhoods with insecticide.

This article from CNN – Health posted April 4, 2003 has information to consider.

ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) — A mosquito spraying method that health officials say is central to fighting West Nile virus does not increase pesticide levels in humans, federal officials said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined the potential health dangers of exposure to mosquito spray from fogger trucks after a request by Mississippi state health officials in September.

Officials interviewed and took urine samples from 192 residents of four cities in Mississippi. Two of the cities used truck foggers for mosquito control. The CDC concluded that local mosquito control activities did not lead to increased pesticide levels.

The use of pesticides to fight the spread of West Nile virus has been controversial, said George Luber of the CDC, and mosquito spraying has been a central aspect in prevention.

The finding was seen as good news by health officials who have been on the front line of battling against the virus. West Nile made more than 4,100 people ill and killed 277 last year in the United States.

Dawn Wesson, associate professor of medical entomology at Tulane University, said the study allays some fears about increasing insecticide use in the face of an outbreak. She said spray trucks have been effective when used during peak mosquito activity against the type of mosquito responsible for the spread of West Nile virus.

“The doses that are sprayed for mosquito control purposes are calibrated to be just enough to kill mosquitoes and … to be safe for humans,” she said. “This verifies those data (calibrations) are accurate in the first place.”

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