Weather delays spraying for mosquitoes here

Weather delays spraying for mosquitoes here by David Lias With West Nile growing in severity day by day in South Dakota, the state is taking to the air to fight back.

It's already sprayed Rapid City and other communities in western South Dakota.

Among the targeted cities for the aerial attack against mosquitoes which spread West Nile is Vermillion.

But City Administrator Jim Patrick noted Thursday morning that the spraying operation likely won't begin here the night of Sept. 11, as originally planned.

A weather system that moved into the area Tuesday has dropped some much needed precipitation in the region, and as of Thursday morning, a steady rain was still falling.

"They (the state) are going to have a conference call today (Sept. 11)," Patrick said. "They're going to make that call at about 1 p.m. to decide if and where they're going to spray tonight.

"It just depends on what the weather conditions are," he said.

Patrick said Vermillion residents who are outdoors during the evening shortly before the spraying effort begins may notice a strange sight.

The contractors, he said, will launch a weather balloon that will take wind direction and humidity readings at 100 feet and 200 feet.

"It will have strobes on it," he said, "and I suppose if you weren't expecting it, you might think it is a UFO or something," he said.

Patrick said the aerial spraying in Rapid City, Sturgis, Spearfish, Hot Springs and Belle Fourche was completed earlier this week, and went extremely well.

He's expecting the operation will work as smoothly when it eventually moves to Vermillion. Two private companies will do the spraying. Dynamic Aviation Group of Bridgewater, VA, will provide the aircraft and pilots. Clarke Mosquito Control of Roselle, IL, is supervising the application of a pesticide called Anvil 10-10.

Plans are to start spraying at dusk, when mosquitoes are most active, and continue until midnight, said George Williams of the state Department of Agriculture. He said two twin-motor planes could cover about 25,000 acres a day.

While many communities have already sprayed for mosquitoes on the ground, aerial spraying will provide more thorough coverage and can reach areas that ground crews cannot, said Williams.

Sixteen communities have been targeted for spraying because they have had the highest number of cases, said state Secretary of Health Doneen Hollingsworth.

They are Rapid City, Sturgis, Spearfish, Hot Springs, Belle Fourche, Pierre, Ft. Pierre, Onida, Redfield, Eagle Butte, Aberdeen, Mitchell, Wagner, Vermillion, Sioux Falls and Britton.

According to a press release issued by the city of Vermillion, if weather conditions the night of Sept. 11 force the cancellation of the scheduled spraying, it will be done the next night that conditions are favorable.

Anvil 10-10, according to the city and the state health department, is safe and effective in killing mosquitoes.

Anvil breaks down quickly in the environment, and will be used at very low concentrations, which, in turn, makes the likelihood of adverse affects very low.

The product is approved by the EPA and commonly used for mosquito control.

Most residents will not have to curtail any of their routine outdoor activities, but the city suggests that individuals with allergies or a low tolerance to pesticides should consider staying indoors during spraying hours from dusk to midnight.

The pesticide is non-corrosive and does not harm paint finishes.

When weather conditions become favorable for spraying here, area residents may notice the aerial applicator making test runs of the flight patterns during daylight hours. No spraying of the product will take place at that time.

The application of Anvil 10-10 will take place only during the evening hours when mosquitoes are most active.

The Department of Health reported 87 more human West Nile cases and two more deaths

Sept. 9. Hollingsworth said a Brown County and a Pennington County resident, both in the 75 to 85 year-old age group, died Aug. 30 at Avera St Luke's Hospital and Sept. 2 at Rapid City Regional Hospital, respectively.

The number of West Nile deaths in the state now totals seven and the total number of cases is 538.

An elderly Wakonda man was the first individual to die of West Nile in South Dakota this year.

Moody County reported its first human WNV case. Sixty-three of South Dakota's 66 counties now have human West Nile cases. Counties with the highest number of cases include Pennington (78), Brown (28), Hughes (24), Butte (16), Dewey (16), Minnehaha (16), Charles Mix (16), Fall River (15), Meade (14), Davison (13), Lawrence (11), Marshall (11), Clay (11), Shannon (11) and Todd (10).

The deaths have occurred in Brown, Clay, Meade, Pennington (3) and Shannon Counties.

Twenty-three percent of South Dakota cases with a known diagnosis have been reported with meningoencephalitis, 78 percent with West Nile fever. One percent of the cases have developed acute flaccid paralysis syndrome associated with WNV infection.

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