Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Thankfully, County Did NOT Take Over Mosquito Control

During the early years of estimable, maladroit, malfeasant St. Johns County, Florida County Administrator MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK (R-TOLL BROTHERS, who previously worked for developer-direted sham governments in Broward County, Florida and Richardson, TX), our St. Johns County Commissioners attempted to take over every single government office in St. Johns County, including our Anastasia Mosquito Control District of St. Johns County, an independent special taxing district, an independent scientific and technical body.

Then-Chairman of the St. Johns County Commission THOMAS G. MANUEL told Dr. Dwight Hines,Ph.D. and me in his office that if he had his way, the Road and Bridge Department would "handle" mosquito control, and self-important all-Republican Commissioners would only spend "fifteen minutes a year" on Mosquito Control.

Thankfully, we stopped MANUEL and WANCHICK.

Curses, foiled again!

Here's a column from Sunday's Record on Zika virus:

Guest Column: Mosquito control: Zika protocols in place
Posted: April 9, 2016 - 8:32pm | Updated: April 10, 2016 - 12:08am

St. Augustine
This is in response to a letter published April titled “Prepare for Zika threat,” and copied to County Commissioner Rachael Bennett and Anastasia Mosquito Control Board member Vivan Browning.

The yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, is the major vector for Zika, Chikungunya and Dengue fever. The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is the potential vector for these viruses. Both species of mosquitoes breed in any types of containers inside and outside homes and yards — even in bromide flowers holding a little water after rain fall and irrigation. Aedes aegypti disappeared from North Florida from early 1990s after the invasion of Aedes albopictus in Florida. It is interesting that the yellow fever mosquitoes gradually come back to northeastern Florida. We found a very low number of yellow fever mosquitoes in downtown St. Augustine, from middle of February 2016. Our district worked out a plan for eradication of the yellow fever mosquitoes downtown through street by street and door-to-door for inspection and treatment.

As the letter writer, Nancy Hutton, said, our county is always overrun with tourists. Every year we do have several imported human cases of mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever, chikungunya and Zika (one imported case in Feb, 2016). Our district, under AMCD’s board of commissioners’ direction and leadership, staff expertise and the support of and the county board of health, we have developed a response plan and control strategy for prevention and control of mosquito-borne diseases in the past 12 years. Our county has been free of any locally-acquired mosquito-borne diseases since 2003.

Our district’s response to any suspected human cases is based on the dispersal or flying distance, behavior and habitats of vector mosquito species after we receive the information about suspected human case from the health department. For prevention and control of yellow fever mosquitoes and Asian Tiger Mosquitoes (container-breeding mosquitoes), we used the barrier perimeter strategy. We enhanced the surveillance, residential and community education, source reduction and treatment by using Ultra-low volume foggers, barrier-spraying, thermal fogging and other practical control techniques, based on local environmental conditions within a mile, because Yellow Fever and Asian Tiger mosquitoes fly only short distances. This successful strategy and method have been adopted by other mosquito control programs.

Ms. Hutton is right. Now it is the time for our mosquito control staff and health department staff to conduct public education for emptying containers, personal protection and prevention against mosquito bites — and to expand treatment rates and areas in order to fight the spread of vector mosquitoes and the Zika virus.

AMCD is a local governmental entity and a tax authority. Our commissioners set the emerging fund for the response to the possible outbreaks of any kind of mosquito-borne diseases when they set up the annual budget — which specifically includes funding for an response to and control of, a mosquito-borne disease outbreak. The district increased surveillance, inspection, education, treatment and funding for vector mosquitoes after we received the first imported Zika case in our county. Also, the district has planned and arranged to search and apply for more grants to study where our Yellow Fever mosquitoes and the insecticide susceptibility, control technology and strategy against these vector mosquitoes.

Currently there are 79 imported Zika cases in Florida. We do have challenges and face public health threats because the imported case number grows in Florida, the mosquito season is already started an human populations have no resistance or immunity to these pathogens. Based on the very low current population of yellow fever mosquitoes in Northeast Florida and our many years of experience — and with the support and collaboration of residents — I am confident that we can successfully prevent and control the spread of Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases in our county.

Rui-De-Xue, Ph.D, is the director of the Anastasia Mosquito Control District.

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