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Ticked Off


To The Editor,

Your Lyme Disease story (6/28/06) illustrates still again the proven effectiveness of public education in reducing the incidence of tick-born diseases.

Throughout Suffolk County annually there are a couple of West Nile Virus (WNV) cases and about 600 cases of tick-born diseases. Control of both ticks and mosquitoes is the responsibility of the Vector Control Division of the County's Dept of Public Works. One might assume their approximately 3 million dollar annual budget would be spent in proportion to the threat posed by each vector. Sadly, this is not so.

County Vector Control spends almost nothing on public education to reduce tick-born diseases. But to "fight" WNV, it uses a monster machine to dig-up and destroy our invaluable saltwater wetlands, and also sprays them with pesticides, to "control" the mosquitoes that breed there. But WNV is not carried by saltwater mosquitoes, it is carried by freshwater mosquitoes (primarily those in the Culex family, such as the common house mosquito).

As the enormity of their folly has been driven home by Kevin McAllister, The Peconic Baykeeper, the County changed the alleged reason for using their machine. Now, they claim they need to destroy the saltwater wetlands in order to save them. (Vietnam, anyone?)

Anyone expecting sanity, let alone integrity, in this aspect of County Government will have a very long wait indeed.

BOB McALEVY
July 05, 2006

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