CT--State Adds $500,000 to Kill Deadly Bugs

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Tue, Mar 14, 2000

State adds $500,000 to kill deadly bugs

By Carrie Melago, Register Staff

BRIDGEPORT  State leaders heightened their assault on potentially deadly viruses found in mosquitoes Monday, pledging to spend an extra $500,000 on larvicide as a preventative measure in 41 communities throughout Connecticut.

The funding, which allows the state Department of Environmental Protection to purchase and distribute bulk larvicide, strengthens the statewide mosquito management program, designed to lower the threat of West Nile and Eastern equine encephalitis.

"The money being allocated today will be made available immediately to assist the municipalities, and continues our commitment to respond and assist local communities with the threat of this disease," Lt. Gov.

M. Jodi Rell said at the governor's Bridgeport headquarters.

The state's announcement comes a week after the New York state Department of Health announced that West Nile viral RNA  but no live viruses  was found in mosquitoes collected in New York City in January and February.

Connecticut researchers have been performing similar tests in this state, but found no evidence of the virus.

"There's a chance it could replicate here in this region," said DEP Commissioner Arthur J. Rocque Jr.

This funding is in addition to the $1 million statewide mosquito management program proposed by Gov.

John G. Rowland. The current plan includes extended trapping and testing, as well as surveillance programs, technical assistance to communities and a public outreach campaign.

The state DEP will purchase the larvicide in bulk, distribute it as soon as possible to communities on a priority basis, then provide technical assistance. Some smaller municipalities will be covered completely by the plan, while larger ones may have to dig into their own pockets to complete their programs.

The larvicide is designed to directly attack the larvae and reduce the overall mosquito population, in turn lowering the risk of spreading the viruses in Connecticut, officials said.

Because the larvicide will be in a tablet form, it will not pose the health threats that spraying would.

Rocque said the tablets cause "very little collateral impact," only affecting some small aquatic insects.

Residents can protect themselves by dumping out wheelbarrows, bird baths and gutters, as well as waiting for any instructions from public officials.

"There is no need to panic here, really there isn't," Rocque said.

Connecticut communities have been on alert since the presence of the West Nile virus was reported in New York City last September. Traps were placed in areas bordering New York, which led to the identification of the virus in 29 birds and two pools of mosquitoes.

"Frankly, we can't control birds or mosquitoes flying in the state," Rocque said. "We don't know when or if it (the virus) will show up."

The 41 communities that will share in the funds are Branford, Bridgeport, Chester, Clinton, Darien, Deep River, East Haven, East Lyme, Essex, Fairfield, Greenwich, Groton, Guilford, Hamden, Ledyard, Lyme, Madison, Milford, Montville, New Canaan, New Haven, New London, North Haven, North Stonington, Norwalk, Norwich, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Orange, Preston, Redding, Shelton, Stamford, Stonington, Stratford, Waterford, West Haven, Westbrook, Weston, Westport and Woodbridge.


-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), March 14, 2000

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