Recently, a citizen wrote a letter to the editor expressing concerns relating to spraying for mosquitoes, in particular during Evanston Brew Fest. As county commissioners, we would like to address these concerns.
Spraying during Brew Fest was an unfortunate coincidence and one that is typically avoided. During the busy summer months, there is almost always an event taking place and because the weather and wind conditions have to be just right to spray, we cannot always spray when no events are planned.
The contracted pilots do their best to spot crowds and then avoid spraying over the crowd; however, when traveling at 150 mph, it is not possible to catch everything.
Permethrin, the chemical used in spraying for mosquitoes, is considered nontoxic for aerial spraying in the doses used by the county. Permethrin is even considered safe enough to be manufactured in clothing and in sprays to be used on clothing.
While most people will not experience any symptoms relating to permethrin, there may be a small percentage of people with sensitivities to the product. Advance notice is provided for citizens and event planners to be able to take proper precautions. Advance notice is also given for beekeepers to protect their hives.
West Nile Virus (WNV) is a very real threat to public health and it is the main reason aerial spraying is done. Earlier this year in a press release, the Wyoming Department of Health provided the following information:
“Since WNV first appeared in Wyoming in 2002, reported human cases each year have ranged from two [cases resulting in] no deaths in one year to 393 [cases resulting in] nine deaths in another. In 2016, 10 WNV cases were reported to WDH. Of the reported cases, seven involved people with neuroinvasive disease.”
Brad Asay manages the county’s mosquito control efforts and monitors the mosquitoes within our county for diseases. Mosquitoes are routinely collected, identified, and tested for WNV. When the virus is found, samples are sent in to the state for verification.
We feel that spraying for mosquitoes is an important service the county provides to the citizens for public health purposes, but also for quality of life. We know many of our citizens appreciate the reduction in mosquitoes and are able to enjoy spending more of their time outdoors because of this program.
Uinta County Commissioners
Eric South, chairman