European Mosquito Calamity
Hits South Moravia

From Patricia Doyle, PhD

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 Moravia
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 nothing happens."
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 apologized.
"Towns simply lack the money," he said.
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 officials.
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 Organization statistics.
Three Czechs died of malaria in the last decade, but not since 1998.
" Petr Ka°par contributed to this report.
Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD
Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics
Univ of West Indies
Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at:
Also my new website:
Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
Go with God and in Good Health




This Site Served by TheHostPros