Cooper orders $4M to fight mosquitoes after Florence

0

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Feel like you’re being eaten alive every time you step outside since Hurricane Florence? Help is on the way.

Gov. Roy Cooper has ordered $4 million to fund mosquito control efforts in counties currently under a major disaster declaration, his office announced in a news release.

- Advertisement -

Those counties include: Bladen, Beaufort, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Moore, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Wayne, and Wilson.

“To help local communities in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, I’ve directed state funds for mosquito control efforts to protect people who live in hard-hit areas,” Gov. Cooper said in a statement.

According to the governor’s office, funding will allow control efforts to begin as soon as today. Each county’s allocation will be based upon their share of the total acreage requiring mosquito treatment in the 27 counties. None of the counties will be asked to share in the cost for these services up to their specific allocation amount. They will have the flexibility to determine the most appropriate means to provide this service.

Earlier this week Brunswick County asked for federal help to kill mosquitoes, as area counties have announced mosquito spraying plans and schedules.

Scientists say larger than normal and more aggressive mosquitoes have swarmed some areas of the state since Florence.

Increased mosquito populations often follow a hurricane or any weather event that results in large-scale flooding. While most mosquitoes that emerge after flooding do not transmit human disease, they still pose a public health problem by discouraging people from going outside and hindering recovery efforts.

Although rare, the most commonly reported mosquito-borne illnesses that can be acquired in North Carolina are LaCrosse encephalitis, West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis. Nearly 70 percent of mosquito-borne infections reported in the state in 2017 were acquired during travel outside the continental U.S.

While outdoors, peoples should remember to:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants while outdoors.
  • Use mosquito repellent that contains DEET or an equivalent when outside and use caution when applying to children.

More information on protective measures to reduce the risk of mosquito bites is available online at ncdhhs.gov/hurricane-florence-mosquitoes.