Health department targets county's mosquitoes

The Allegheny County Health Department is treating Pittsburgh’s storm water catch basins with pesticide this week to prevent the occurrence of mosquito-spread diseases, such as West Nile virus. 

The health department will treat about 10,000 of Pittsburgh’s 22,000 catch basins at selected locations throughout the city, said Bill Todaro, medical entomologist for the county. 

Catch basins, often containing stagnant water, become an “ideal habitat” for insects, he said. The pesticide, called Altosid with an active ingredient of methoprene, is safe for humans but prevents larvae from developing into adult mosquitoes.

Treatment began Monday and will likely be completed by Friday, Mr. Todaro said. Treated basins will be marked with bright green paint.

The county has been running its treatment program for about a decade, originally treating all of Pittsburgh’s basins but now focusing on the spots that are historically more prone to West Nile occurrence. In 2002, there were 22 reported cases of West Nile virus, and four deaths. No human cases were reported in 2013, two in 2012 and one in 2011. 

 “It has had an impact on the number of mosquitoes breeding in these catch basins,” Mr. Todaro said.

First Published June 10, 2014 10:01 AM

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