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April 26, 2004

Contact: Peter Boger
(609) 984-1795

Urges Practical Steps to Reduce Mosquito Population and Risk of West Nile Virus

(04/43) TRENTON- The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) urged residents today to be mindful of the coming mosquito season and to take common sense precautions to reduce the risk of contracting mosquito-borne viruses, such as West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).

"Right now is the time to take preemptive steps to address the mosquito larvae population," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "People need to eliminate pools of standing water that serve as mosquito breeding grounds and can form in places such as gutters, tarps covering pools or boats, trash cans, and old tires."

In addition, Campbell reminded members of the public to take common sense steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Some basic steps include wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants when outdoors, particularly at dusk and dawn; making sure screens on windows and doors are in good repair; and applying appropriate insect repellant (following the label instructions carefully, especially when applying to children) when going outdoors.

Since March, mosquito larvae have been actively developing in the aquatic stage of their life cycle. Both state and county government mosquito control agencies are surveying for and applying control strategies at this time in order to prevent the emergence of mosquitoes to the flying adult stage. Control methods include the stocking of mosquito-eating fish that consume the larvae and the application of targeted, low-impact insecticides.

Once again, DEP this year will cooperate with the New Jersey Departments of Health and Senior Services and Agriculture, as well as Rutgers University and the 21 County Mosquito Control Agencies, to control for mosquitoes that may be implicated in the transmission of West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Interested members of the public can find out from their county agency the schedules for any spraying that is performed as a last resort to control for adult, flying mosquitoes.

To learn more about mosquito control, visit the DEP website at:





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