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No Spray News

James Irwin
PO Box 6393
Columbia, SC  29260


May 21, 2002      Page 6

Spray or Get Sued?

   "Communities Get Sued For Not Spraying" warned the headline of the Pest Control magazine article distributed to members of Richland County Council by Vector Control director Tammie Brewer. County Councilwoman Joan Brady told me that, after reading this article, she would be reluctant to end routine spraying in Richland County.

The Facts Don't Match the Hype

   I looked at the two cases cited in the article distributed to county Council, and here is what I found: Case #l - Ouachita Parish, Louisiana:

   These lawsuits, over 2 deaths from St. Louis encephalitis, are not about "not spraying" at all. Instead,

The suit alleges that MCI used inadequate or improper chemicals and equipment to abate the mosquitoes that spread the St. Louis encephalitis virus.

Source: The News-Star Online Edition - Monroe 10/9/01

   The main reason that the chemicals used are alleged to be "improper" is that the mosquitoes have developed resistance to them. Eleven days after the lawsuits were filed, the Monroe (LA) News-Star reported that:

   Experts say mosquitoes in Ouachita Parish are resistant to a number of different chemicals, which will complicate future control efforts.

   Janet McAllister, a senior entomologist with the New Orleans Mosquito Abatement District, said since adult mosquitoes are resistant to insecticides, future efforts will have to focus on targeting immature, or larval, mosquitoes.

   The insecticide resistance helps explain why mosquito populations were difficult to control during the outbreak, McAllister said.

   The mosquito spraying contractor is also accused of spraying at lower than the maximum label rate.

   Instead of being an argument for routine mosquito spraying, this case represents a potent argument against it, due to the insecticide resistance problems that it can create.

Case#2 - Nassau County, NY

    This case again involves 2 deaths, this time purportedly from West Nile encephalitis. The story here is that there doesn't seem to be a story. After failing to find any recent news on this by other means, I called Cynthia Brown of Nassau County Health Department, - who was quoted in the initial media coverage.              (Continued on Page 7)


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