DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Dorchester County officials say they will provide more notice going forward as the county works to protect its citizens from mosquitoes potentially carrying the Zika virus.
On Friday, the state's Department of Health and Environmental Control reported four confirmed cases of the Zika virus in the Summerville area, a letter from County Administrator Jason Ward stated. The county sent two notices on Friday and Saturday to various media outlets and were posted on social media, Ward said.
That notice was in keeping with the South Carolina Pesticide Control Act, which requires "not less than 24 hours notice" prior to pesticide spraying, he said.
Ward said no additional aerial spraying flights for mosquitoes are scheduled at this time, and said the county will provide notification three to five days in advance of any additional aerial spraying. It will also contact any registered beekeepers in the county directly by phone or email.
That change comes after beekeepers in the county reported they lost beehives during Sunday morning's spraying.
Beekeepers who have lost beehives are asked to call Scott Gaskins at (843) 832-0080 or email him at email@example.com. Those who have already spoken with Gaskins should expect him to follow up for additional information.
For more information on the mosquito truck spraying schedule, visit the county website at www.dorchestercounty.net.
In addition to Zika, mosquitoes could potentially carry illnesses like West Nile, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, La Crosse Encephalitis, Saint Louis Encephalitis, and dog/cat heartworm, according to the county's website.
The chemical used in aerial spraying is Naled, an insecticide that has been registered since 1959 for use in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA site also contains this information about Naled and questions about dangers of exposure to humans:
When applied according to label instructions, Naled can be used for public health mosquito control programs without posing risks to people. People aren't likely to breathe or touch anything that has enough insecticide on it to harm them. Direct exposure to Naled during or immediately after application should not occur. However, anyone who has a particular concern because of an existing health problem should talk to their doctor. Also, those who tend to be sensitive to chemicals in general, including household chemicals, could experience short-term effects such as skin, eye and nose irritation.
EPA has estimated the exposure and risks to both adults and children posed by ULV aerial and ground applications of naled. Because of the very small amount of active ingredient released per acre of ground, exposures were below an amount that might pose a health concern. These estimates assumed several spraying events over a period of weeks and also assumed that a toddler would consume some soil and grass in addition to skin and inhalation exposure.