Police jury hears mosquito abatement plan

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 7, 2003

VIDALIA, La. &045; For less than a six- pack of Coke per resident, Concordia Parish can be protected from the West Nile virus, said Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness Morris White.

White presented a mosquito abatement plan that he said will actively protect residents of Concordia Parish from the West Nile virus to the Concordia Police Jury on Thursday.

West Nile Virus first appeared in the U.S. in late August and September 1999, when about 60 people from New York became infected and seven people died.

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Health officials warn that this year’s outbreak could make the area ripe for a second outbreak next year. White, along with several experts on West Nile, put together a plan for the parish that will help control mosquito-borne viruses through surveillance, education and evaluation.

The surveillance of mosquitoes will consist of monitoring various mosquito species throughout Concordia Parish and determine if they carry any diseases that could infect humans. Other animals, such as birds and horses, will also be under surveillance. Human surveillance will be important to determine if the mosquito borne virus is present in Concordia Parish, according to White. According to White, encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, is the most serious form of mosquito borne vital infection. Cases of encephalitis will be closely monitored and blood tests or brain and spinal fluid tests may be needed to further study the cases.

A public information campaign will be implemented to educate and inform the public. There will also be a hotline that the public can call with information and questions. White said the program will cost an estimated $570,800.00 per year.

The public will have an opportunity to vote a yes or no on the program. White suggested three ways to fund the program, including a water meter tax, sales tax and property millage.