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Aerial mosquito spraying study finds no immediate public health risks
Date:6/27/2013

iological connection with aerial spraying, the results related to these conditions are indeed likely to have occurred by chance.

Integrated mosquito management -- a method to control mosquitoes through targeted interventions based on mosquito biology that includes surveillance of mosquito activity, reducing breeding sites such as neglected swimming pools, and the killing of larval and adult mosquitoes -- are all used in California to control the spread of mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile virus. When local methods prove inadequate, aerial spraying is used to rapidly reduce large, adult mosquito populations.

During the time of the study, ultra-low volume of pyrethrin insecticide was used for spraying; the chemical is derived from an African chrysanthemumand acts by blocking chemical signals at nerve junctions in insects. It is the same pesticide used to treat head lice in children and to kill fleas and ticks in pets.

Exposure to the pesticide has been reported to pose risks to human health, including skin and eye irritation, respiratory and gastrointestinal disturbances, lethargy, fatigue and dizziness. According to the UC Davis researchers, the exposure to pyrethrin during the urban aerial sprayings in 2005 was minimal due to the use of ultra low volume technology. Coverage required only about three-quarters of an ounce or less of the chemical per acre.

Geraghty cautioned that potential long-term effects of aerial spraying were not addressed in the study and would be extremely difficult to investigate on human populations. She said it would be worthwhile to reproduce the study for other pesticides and spraying techniques.


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Contact: Charles Casey
charles.casey@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
916-734-9048
University of California - Davis Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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