Using Drones And Ditties To Help Hunt Down Disease-Bearing Mosquitoes

From California Healthline
June 22, 2018

As residents of California’s Coachella Valley escape the blazing heat this summer in air-conditioned living rooms, movie theaters and cars, many will hear this upbeat but cheesy refrain:

Dump it! Drain it! Scrub it clean! Your weekly mosquito prevention routine.”

These commercials feature local mosquito-control officials grinning goofily at the camera while they follow the jingle’s instructions to eliminate pools of water that harbor insects they are branding as “bloodthirsty killers.”

Nationwide, diseases spread by ticks, fleas and mosquitoes have tripled since 2004. In California, last summer brought the deadliest West Nile virus season in 15 years.

Authorities in the Coachella Valley and other regions of the state are trying to drive home the message that mosquitoes are a serious and growing threat to residents’ health. Using jingles, disaster drills and even drones, they are spreading the word and preparing for outbreaks.

Jill Oviatt, a spokeswoman for the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District, calls the ad campaign an attempt to “brainwash” residents and force them to rethink mosquitoes as more than buzzing, irritating, itch-making pests. With climate change and the spread of diseases across international boundaries, they pose a lethal threat.

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