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posted: 4/9/2013 4:42 PM

DuPage examining mosquito abatement strategies

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  • A task force will examine the way DuPage County municipalities, townships and service districts combat mosquitoes and make recommendations on whether changes should be made.

      A task force will examine the way DuPage County municipalities, townships and service districts combat mosquitoes and make recommendations on whether changes should be made.
    Daily Herald file photo

 
 

Every summer, 45 different DuPage County municipalities, townships and service districts target a common enemy: mosquitoes.

Thirty-six of those governmental entities sign separate contracts with the same company to reduce the mosquito population.

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Two mosquito abatement districts recently examined by the county hire their own attorneys and accounting services. One even retains a consultant.

So county officials want to know if there's a more cost-efficient way to kill the pesty bugs.

A task forced charged with answering that and other mosquito abatement questions has been created by the county and DuPage County Health Department.

The panel -- which includes representatives from municipalities, townships, the county and mosquito abatement districts -- is scheduled to meet for the first time on April 25.

"People who have a vested interest have been invited to participate," county board Chairman Dan Cronin said Tuesday. "We're trying to spark a conversation about how we could do things better.

"We're approaching this as a public health issue," Cronin said. "We want to be the best at mosquito abatement. We want to be the model."

The task force will make recommendations on several issues, including a proposed public health education campaign.

It also will review whether DuPage should standardize mosquito surveillance practices to reduce the incidence of mosquito-borne illnesses, such as West Nile virus.

"The health and well-being of all county residents will benefit from the recommendations of this task force," Linda Kurzawa, president of the DuPage County Board of Health, said in a statement.

A way to save taxpayers money also could be found. The task force is going to examine ideas for consolidating mosquito abatement services.

For example, Cronin said, it could be suggested that DuPage's nine townships oversee all of the county's mosquito abatement efforts.

"If we could go from 36 contracts to nine, that would be a huge accomplishment," Cronin said.

The task force will meet at least twice. It's expected to make its recommendations to the health board and the county by June.

"I'm not sure if we can implement everything (this summer)," Cronin said. "But I sure would like to have a good understanding of where we're going and what we're doing."

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