NEW LEXINGTON — As the weather and climate becomes increasingly warmer, mosquitos can become quite a problem for some. Luckily, 45 local health departments throughout the state have been given grant funding to control the mosquito population.
According to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a total of 46 agencies have been awarded grants for mosquito control in their regions. Altogether, the total amount of funding for all agencies is $795,070 in grants.
Grant recipients are located in counties such as Carroll, Galia, Hocking, Jefferson, Lawrence, Meigs, Perry, Pike, Ross, Scioto and Vinton counties. More recipients include cities of Athens, New Philadelphia and Portsmouth.
According to the Ohio EPA, the Perry County Health Department was listed as one of the grant recipients. The agency located at the county’s seat, the Village of New Lexington, was given a total of $8,100 which has been approved for mosquito control.
Additionally, the Perry County Health Department was given $10,000 in funding to help address scrap tire removal activities.
The Ohio EPA outlines specifics on where funding will be going after it has been awarded. For the Perry County Health Department, funds are set to go towards breeding source reductions in an attempt to control mosquito populations along with having seasonal employees.
According to the Ohio EPA Director Laurie A. Stevenson, the Ohio EPA is “pleased” to offer funding to address mosquito control measures. She added that the funding awarded to local agencies will reduce the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses.
Funding will also help address cleaning up scrap tires as they can become breeding grounds for the seasonal insect, according to the director.
The Ohio EPA added areas where funding will go towards and specifically target. Funding will help assist mosquito surveillance, larval control, adult mosquito control which includes spraying where mosquitoes are the most prevalent risk for public health and breeding source reduction which involves trash and tire removal.
The Ohio EPA stated that grants are being issued in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Health and its grand effort to mitigate the potential for an outbreak of illnesses linked to the insect. Over the last four years, the Ohio EPA and the Ohio Department of Health have awarded $5.1 million to local health departments and communities for controlling mosquito populations.
According to the Ohio Department of Health’ website, its idea is to avoid, plan and stop the spread of viruses mosquitoes have been known to transmit.
According to the state’s health department, diseases spread by mosquitoes are a concern for agencies each year. Diseases that may occur locally in communities include Eastern equine encephalitis virus, La Crosse virus, St. Louis encephalitis along with the West Nile Virus.
There are also many mosquito-borne diseases that Ohioans can obtain while traveling which could be brought back to the state. Those diseases include Chikungunya virus, Dengue, Japanese encephalitis virus, Yellow Fever and the Zika virus.
Each summer, according to the state’s health department, mosquitoes are familiar to places such as backyards, parks and campgrounds. There are 59 species of mosquitoes in Ohio that can transmit diseases.
However, the diseases they can carry are among some of the most serious. The Ohio Department of Health advises that locals take protective measures for themselves and their family against mosquito bites.