- Hello, Jeff -- Just when you thought
things couldn't get much worse for Europe with various outbreaks of diseases,
floods have now contributed to swarms of mosquitos in south Moravia and,
I suspect all along the flooded areas of the Danube Delta and countries
in the area. It is very likely we could see major outbreaks of Malaria,
West Nile Virus, and other vectored borne illnesses.
- Patricia Doyle
- Mosquito 'Calamity' Hits South
- By Brandon Swanson
- Staff Writer - The Prague Post
- Millions of mosquitoes emerging from
the standing water left by April flooding have swarmed south Moravia, attacking
residents, causing panic and revealing a shortage of state funding. Thousands
of victims, getting no relief, will be swatting all summer.
- "Basically, we're talking about
a mosquito calamity," said Jana La°tovièková, head
of the Bøeclav District Hygiene Office in south Moravia.
- The mosquitoes are so dense in some areas
along the Morava River that they are attacking at a rate of nearly one
bite per second. The pests gave a single researcher near Horka nad Moravou
54 bites in one minute May 15, said Mayor Oldøich Nykl.
- The recent flood left thousands of pools
of tepid water in which mosquito larvae thrive. But a lack of funding has
allowed them to form into stinging clouds that are plaguing the region,
and local officials are being told they are on their own.
- "It's disappointing when you recall
all of the big promises made during the floods," said Mikulèice
Mayor Josef Hele°ic. He likened the current mosquito problem to the
one that hit the region in 1997 and led to an outbreak of West Nile virus.
"They say, 'We'll help you with this. We'll do it for you.' And then
- Sucked dry
- Regional officials say they have no abatement
funds available because coffers are still drained by infrastructure repairs
caused by flood damage, according to Anna Hubáèková,
head of the Environmental Protection Office of south Moravia.
- But the towns and villages can't afford
the agriculturally safe insecticide the state uses, which can cost as much
as 1 million Kè ($45,000) per liter.
- Hele°ic laughed when asked if he
planned to use the city budget to fight the mosquitoes. He then quickly
- "Towns simply lack the money,"
- The Bøeclav hygeine office's La°tovièková
said she has appealed to the Health Ministry to step in, but it has received
a cold response.
- "The help we got was a single operation
offered to the flood-stricken regions," she said. "Apart from
that there is a lot of silence when it comes to this issue."
- That operation consisted of the Health
Ministry bringing in 15 metric tons (16.5 short tons) of larvacide immediately
after the floods and spraying it over parts of south Bohemia and Moravia.
Director of Public Health Aneka Sixtová said the government has
used up all its stocks of the chemicals and does not plan to buy any more.
- But Jarmila Vodòanská,
owner of Air Special, a company contracted to carry out anti-mosquito spraying
near Bøeclav, said the spraying only covered a fifth of the area
it should have.
- "We expect some 80 percent of the
larvae survived," she said.
- La°tovièková said that
the cost of the pesticide " which has to be imported from the United
States " makes spraying the whole of south Moravia an untenable solution.
- "Honestly, it's about money,"
she said. "It would cost tens of millions of crowns to spray the entire
area. It remains to be seen how, in general, the issue will be dealt with."
- Swarm of confusion
- While local officials say they are inundated
with millions of mosquitoes, the message has yet to sink in with regional
- Olga Gröschlová, director
of the Zlín Regional Hygiene Office, said the mosquito situation
was "normal" and has ordered no further spraying.
- "That upset me," said Jaroslav
evela, mayor of Tlumaèov, in the Zlín region. "While
we don't have the calamity you see in Bøeclav, I can say without
exaggerating that we see a high number of mosquitoes here."
- Heavy thundershowers throughout the country
May 16 and 17 only exacerbated the problem. The villages that were already
scheduled to get pesticides had to wait until the weather cleared, allowing
the mosquitoes to flourish.
- "It seemed as though the rain limited
the mosquito population, but the situation only got a lot worse,"
said Horka nad Moravou Mayor Nykl. The town was scheduled to get pesticide
treatment throughout the week, but as of press time, it had not.
- Time is of the essence because spraying
for mosquitoes that have passed the larval stage is largely ineffective.
- "If it goes on like this, we might
not be able to do any spraying at all," Nykl said.
- The mosquito infestation has hit Slovakia
just as hard, and the country has spent nearly 10 million Sk ($338,000/7.5
million Kè) on the problem so far.
- Mosquito-borne malaria was eliminated
from Czechoslovakia in the late 1950s. The Czech Republic still reports
30 to 40 cases of malaria per year, but they have all been caused by people
who contracted the disease abroad and imported it, according to World Health
- Three Czechs died of malaria in the last
decade, but not since 1998.
- " Petr Ka°par contributed to
- Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD
- Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics
- Univ of West Indies
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message board at:
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- Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
- Go with God and in Good Health