Take action now against mosquitoes

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 8, 2002

Forewarned, the saying goes, is forearmed.

Alabama, and indeed the nation, has seen a greatly increased number of reports of West Nile Virus this year. The virus is spread by mosquitoes. There have been three confirmed deaths due to the virus in Alabama, two in Montgomery County and one in Mobile County.

More than 560 dead birds have also been found to be carrying the disease. The disease is most often spread from infected birds to humans.

That, combined with the fact that Dallas County is reporting larger than normal infestations of mosquitoes this year, is enough to give most Selma residents pause as they embrace such traditional outdoors activities as cook-outs, football games and hunting.

You can see it in the way people swat at the little critters with an intensity that wasn’t there before. What had been merely a nuisance is now a potential life-threatening scenario. That mosquito buzzing around your ear is more than just irritating. He could be carrying a fatal disease. One more worry of modern life.

It comes as something of a surprise, therefore, to learn that Dallas County has only one truck to fight the swarms of mosquitoes that have bedeviled area residents all year.

Due to the extent of the problem, the county is considering purchasing a second truck to help in the battle next year. We think that would be prudent. We should not wait until the problem grows worse before we take action.

The weather is on our side. Mosquito populations begin to decline when land temperatures drop below 60 degrees and water temperature drop below 55 degrees. The threat posed by this year’s swarms of mosquitoes should soon begin to lessen.

There are other precautions area residents can take as well. Wear light-colored rather than dark-colored clothing. Wear mosquito repellant. Take the necessary steps to eliminate all stagnant water in your area.

Now is not the time for undue alarm. Taking these simple precautions should further reduce what is already the unlikely chance that you will contract West Nile Virus. But however simple, they are nonetheless worth taking.

Forewarned is forearmed.