LAMAP: A Tool to Help Parishes Design Mosquito Abatement Programs
The presence of mosquitoes in Louisiana has been documented as far back as the first explorers traveling through territory now known as Louisiana. More than 60 species of this insect reside in the state. Most of the time mosquitoes are just a nuisance, but they occasionally can cause major problems. In 2001, four people in the Monroe area died from St. Louis encephalitis, which is spread by the mosquito. In 2002, West Nile virus, which is also spread by mosquitoes, was a major problem across the state---with 24 deaths reported and at least 329 cases of illness attributed to the disease. The presence of West Nile Virus in humans was documented in 41 parishes. Mosquitoes are also a threat to horses, which can contract West Nile as well as Eastern Equine Encephalitis from mosquitoes.
As the direct result of the outbreak of West Nile Virus in Louisiana in 2002, the Office of Public Health requested federal funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to combat the outbreak which was clearly a threat to the public health of all citizens. Once the funding was received, the Office of Public Health implemented several initiatives to not only combat the outbreak, but also to encourage and promote formation of mosquito control programs and emergency plans at the local level in those parishes lacking a formal mosquito abatement program.
One such initiative was to develop a comprehensive planning tool to be used to design a mosquito abatement program. This initiative, a cooperative effort between the Office of Public Health and the LSU Agricultural Center, became known as LAMAP ( Louisiana Mosquito Abatement Program). LAMAP can be used by local governments to develop a mosquito abatement program or, at a minimum, an emergency program that would be implemented in the event of an arboviral disease outbreak.
Another initiative undertaken by the Office of Public Health was to contract with the Louisiana Mosquito Control Association (LMCA) to conduct mosquito surveillance activities in parishes not having a mosquito abatement program. LMCA is then using the surveillance data and the LAMAP document to assist the parishes in the development of mosquito control programs specific for each parish's needs. The LSU Ag Center is also working with 12 parishes to develop mosquito control programs using surveillance data captured by the Ag Center in the fall of 2002 under another cooperative agreement with the Office of Public Health, along with the LAMAP document.
Eight regional workshops were held throughout the state in April and May of 2003 to present LAMAP to parish officials and to offer assistance of not only the Office of Public Health and the LSU Agricultural Center, but also the LMCA and Department of Agriculture & Forestry. LAMAP was well received by parish officials in attendence at the workshops and parishes are committing to establish parishwide mosquito abatement programs. The Office of Public Health, the Ag Center and the LMCA continue to provide technical assistance to those parishes.
For more information on LAMAP, contact Kyle Moppert, LDH Medical Entomologist.