LITTLE VALLEY - A recent walk and new testing has given officials in Cattaraugus County reason to call the airplanes in to bring relief from mosquitoes to selected areas of the county.
"Last week, we have seen an increase in the numbers of larvae in some areas that have been largely affected by mosquitoes this summer," said Dr. Kevin Watkins, County Public Health director. "We will be flying this week in our targeted catchment areas to eliminate the threat."
The areas that will receive the larvicide spray will be Salamanca, Olean, Allegany, Carrollton, Portville and Killbuck, Watkins said. Those areas have had a large concentration of larvae and adult populations in the early phases of the summer. The city of Salamanca, through the Seneca Nation of Indians, will also be spraying adulticide to get rid of the mosquitoes that have grown beyond the larvae stage.
The flights, with the exception of the adulticide spraying in Salamanca, will be paid for by the municipalities that will receive the treatment, Watkins said. For a municipality to be eligible for county-sponsored spray efforts, they would have to have a resolution of agreement to opt into the county program.
"The recent rains have increased the number of larvae in these containment areas, bringing us to the decision to spray at this time," Watkins said.
When spraying occurs, the payment to the flight and spray company goes through the county Health Department, but the funds do come from municipalities. For the county to absorb the cost, according to Watkins, there would have to be a confirmed imminent health risk.
"Let's say we find a pool of larvae that are infected with Eastern Equine Encephalitis," he said. "At that point, we would document it and wait for the state director of health to declare an emergency. At that point, with a resolution from the County Legislature, we would be responsible for the entire cost."
While schedules for spraying are not readily available, they are expected to take place in the next few days in the catchment areas, Watkins said.