Residents can still help curb West Nile

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 31, 2004

Concordia Parish’s mosquito abatement board isn’t giving up easily. After Saturday’s vote squashed a proposed tax increase to help pay for a program to help reduce the risk of West Nile disease, the board said it will look at other ways to raise funds.

The board could look at finding grants to fund the abatement, although that money is hard to find and matching funds are even harder to come by.

The vote against the program &045; which would have established a four-year 10-mill tax increase &045; shows residents simply did not want another tax.

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But there are things that all of us can do this spring and summer to help reduce the risk of West Nile disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control, we can:

4Drain standing water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by getting rid of items that hold water, such as bird baths.

4Report dead birds to local authorities. Dead birds may be a sign that West Nile virus is circulating between birds and the mosquitoes in an area. More than 130 species of birds are known to have been infected with West Nile virus, though not all infected birds will die. Birds die from many other causes besides West Nile virus.

4Clean up. Mosquito breeding sites can be anywhere. Neighborhood clean-up days can be organized by civic or youth organizations to pick up containers from vacant lots and parks and to encourage people to keep their yards free of standing water. Mosquitoes don’t care about fences, so it’s important to control breeding sites throughout the neighborhood.

We should all take part in these mosquito abatement practices to lower the risk of West Nile in our communities.