Mosquito season is upon us, made more concerning this year by the spread of the Zika virus to the Rio Grande Valley. The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District is fighting the battle against mosquitoes on many fronts.
Trucks that send out fogs of insecticides at night. Backpack sprayers where chemicals are placed precisely where mosquitoes breed. These are some of the tactics employed by vector control.
However, Sanitarian Services Manager Stephen Barscewski says it’s going to take a team effort.
"We only take care of public property: streets, drainage ditches, parks and recreational areas within parks," he emphasized. "So we really need to citizens to do their part."
This year, Metro Health received more than $700,000 in federal grant money through the state for education and prevention against Zika. That money will pay for free mosquito dunks that kill mosquito larvae to be given to low income pregnant women.
"We’re going to be giving them out through our WIC clinics, our Healthy Start which is our infant mortality prevention program in the next few weeks," said Public Relations Manager Carol Schlesinger.
Last year, San Antonio only employed one licensed vector control officer. Now there are two, with other city employees trained to use the mosquito dunks.
If you notice a particularly bad mosquito problem in a city park, easement or waterway, you can report it by calling 3-1-1. "Public input definitely is important to us and we respond to those calls," stress Vector Control Services Supervisor Joel Lara.
Mosquitoes can also carry diseases like West Nile Virus and Chikungunya.