The next step for Livingston Parish Mosquito Abatement after reports of West Nile

Photo provided by staff.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - 5:45pm

Right now, three people in Livingston Parish are infected with West Nile. The scary part is, the people of Livingston Parish voted earlier this year not to keep funding the parish's mosquito abatement program.

Jeanine Tessmer, the director of Livingston Parish Mosquito Abatement said there's not much they can do. No support means no money, which means the end of mosquito abatement in Livingston Parish.

West Nile has hit Louisiana, three cases right here in Livingston Parish. Tessmer knew it would happen sooner or later.

"Since I've already had nine positive pools this year," Tessmer said. "It really just didn't come as that much of a surprise to me."

What does surprise her is that people in the parish don't want to pay for for mosquito abatement anymore.

"They voted against it, and we will be going away," Tessmer said. "It's a scary situation. Unfortunately the people in this parish for two years in a row have voted against in having a mosquito control."

It was $30 a year per resident, but these West Nile cases have some voters like Cassie McDonald thinking twice.

"I feel like they're bad regardless. Obviously, I feel like it didn't help at all to have it, and I know it bothered some people paying for it," McDonald said. "I guess I would probably keep it now. I mean, it might not work, but then again you can take that risk and see if it does."

Tessmer said the agency has made a difference.

The number of mosquitoes they've collected in the parish has gone down dramatically over the past 10 years, but come next year, that's thousands of mosquitoes that will still be hanging around.

"It makes me very sad to think about it. I'm going to say I can't do much about it," Tessmer said.

Tessmer said especially because there's no way to know exactly where these cases came from.

"That doesn't mean that they got bit at the address that they live at. They could have been attending a ball game in East Baton Rouge Parish. They could have been at the beach in Grand Isle," Tessmer explained.

That's why Tessmer said it has to be a joint effort. They can spray all they want, but you have to do your part.

Tessmer said the agency might have enough money to continue operating through part of next year, but at this point, she doesn't know.

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