After Hurricane Katrina, 87 qualifying communities in Mississippi were issued contracts for disbursement of $2.8 million in federal funds for mosquito control. As part of this funding, a survey of mosquito control personnel was conducted to evaluate effectiveness of mosquito control programs at these 87 sites before and after disbursement of funds. Two nearly identical questionnaires requested information from county and municipal personnel about specifics for each of the sites, descriptions of operations and practices, information about mosquito control personnel, and information about attitudes of the respondents before and after implementation of the grant. Findings revealed that municipal mosquito control in Mississippi is conducted mostly by personnel in small town/city public works departments and not by contract to an outside agency. Also, mosquito control is composed mostly of routine spraying, based loosely on complaints, time of year, or other factors. For example, only 3% of participants in our survey utilized adult mosquito trapping surveillance data in their spray decisions, and only 11% said they dipped for larvae before treating standing water sites. In light of current environmental consciousness and chemophobia, much work remains to bring Mississippi mosquito control up to current scientific standards. The survey described herein was the first step, shedding light on specific problems encountered in mosquito control and providing public health and regulatory officials with guidance as to which issues to address first.
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Vol. 25 • No. 3