FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CITY MOSQUITO AND TERMITE CONTROL BOARD TREATS ABANDONED POOLS;
MOSQUITO FISH UTILIZED TO PREVENT DISEASE OUTBREAK
NEW ORLEANS, LA (July 10, 2007) The City of New Orleans Mosquito and Termite Control Board is using mosquito fish to prevent the mosquitoes from breeding in unattended pools throughout the city.
"We've been using aerial photographs to pinpoint locations of abandoned pools throughout the city," said Steve Sackett, Mosquito and Termite Control Board Research Entomologist. "It's vital to the city's recovery for us to reduce the probability of disease transmission by treating as many pools as possible".
Post-Katrina, the residents of New Orleans are concerned about the vast number of swimming pools throughout the city that were not maintained and restored. The Mosquito and Termite Control Board is devoting substantial effort to locate and treat swimming pools that were left abandoned after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Immediately following the storms and the flooding the followed, the board began using mosquito fish to eliminate mosquito breeding in swimming pools and other large containers.
Mosquito fish are prolific breeders, producing 75-100 young every two months, and will last for years in a pool. The fish are excellent predators of mosquito larvae and will eliminate mosquito production once they are established. In March of 2006, the Mosquito and Termite Control Board partnered with Operation Blessing, a faith-based organization to provide funding for fish, supplies, and volunteers to inspect and treat pools. Since then, more than 5,000 pools have been inspected, and more than 2,000 have been treated.
The board is also placing signs at the pools where the mosquito fish have been introduced, asking the public not to treat the pools with bleach or other substances, as it may kill the fish and allow mosquitoes to breed. One pool can produce thousands of mosquitoes if left unattended. Mosquito numbers in most areas of the city have been fairly low, and mosquito samples are sent to the Louisiana Animal Disease and Diagnostic Laboratory each week, where they are tested for West Nile virus and encephalitis. To date, all results have been negative.
The city is asking residents in the New Orleans Metro Area to also play their part in the prevention of mosquito breeding by cleaning and maintaining their pools. Citizens also can help in this effort by removing water-filled containers such as buckets, tires, flower pots, etc from their yards and neighborhoods. To report an abandoned pool, call the City Information Hotline by dialing 311 or (504) 658-2400.