Fighting West Nile

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 26, 2002

With the discovery of the West Nile virus in Covington County, a distant fear has now come home. Hearing about the disease in other places tends to leave with vague concerns, but finding it in our own backyard brings about another reaction altogether.

The recent wet weather will only contribute to the problem and the solution must be found on several levels. Coating ourselves with insect repellant is not enough, especially considering the fact that many contain DEET, which has been proven to have detrimental effects on health when over applied, especially to children.

To fight the influx of the virus, we must go to the source - the mosquito. We call on the public to join this war by removing as many mosquito breeding grounds as possible. We call on the city and county officials to coordinate and oversee the efforts.

Water collects everywhere. Old tires are particularly common culprits, since the water is hidden away in the well of the tire, and the tire can be hidden by grass and other debris. Old five-gallon buckets and paint cans, open ditches that do not drain quickly, ponds with no source of free-flowing water - all are suspected hosts to the breeders.

While spraying insecticides can help, there are other, more natural deterrents. Martin houses and bat houses can welcome the most effective mosquito hunters in existance.

This disease could effect our entire community, and it will take a community effort to combat it.