Government Technology

GIS Tracks West Nile Virus and Mosquitoes in Valdosta, Ga.



November 26, 2008 By

GIS is the archenemy of West Nile Virus and all mosquitoes in Valdosta, Ga. The city's Mosquito Population Control Program records data from about 35 mosquito traps within the city limits, each trap set in one-mile radius intervals.

Students from Valdosta State University collect the mosquitoes each week to count, type, and test them for West Nile Virus - a potentially deadly affliction contracted primarily by the bites of infected mosquitoes. The data is then entered into a GIS tool that directs John Whitehead, the deputy city manager for operations, where to spray for mosquitoes.

"The GIS system has helped us tremendously to pinpoint where we need to put our resources, instead of just going out, like in the past, when we were spraying the entire city every week," Whitehead said.

Spraying only targeted areas saves the city roughly $70,000 annually in cost avoidance. The GIS and spraying program now costs $30,000 each year. Reductions in labor, overtime pay, and chemical and vehicle expenses produced the savings, said Whitehead.

A child in Valdosta contracted West Nile from a mosquito in 2001, which drove Whitehead to create the GIS tool in collaboration with experts at Valdosta State. There are no known cases in Valdosta since then of humans testing positive for West Nile.

The initial goal of the GIS tool was to spot earlier the mosquitoes that are carrying West Nile, but the presence of fewer mosquitoes was an additional benefit. Whitehead said that West Nile Virus always appears in the same location, which enables him to focus his spraying efforts.

"I immediately go aggressively into the chemical spraying. There are two components to a program. You have your larvaciding and your adulticiding," Whitehead said.

The GIS program matches each trap with data on nearby nursing homes, recreational facilities, schools, and day-care centers - places where at-risk people congregate. South Georgia is home to many honeybee growers, and the GIS program also shows Whitehead where to avoid spraying bee farms.

 


| More

You May Also Like

Comments

Add Your Comment

You are solely responsible for the content of your comments. We reserve the right to remove comments that are considered profane, vulgar, obscene, factually inaccurate, off-topic, or considered a personal attack.

In Our Library

White Papers | Exclusives Reports | Webinar Archives | Best Practices and Case Studies
Improving Emergency Response with Digital Communications
Saginaw County, Mich., increases interoperability, communication and collaboration with a digital voice and data network, as well as modern computer-aided dispatch.
Reduce Talk Time in Your Support Center by 40%
As the amount of information available to citizens and employees grows each year, so do customer expectations for efficient service. Contextual Knowledge makes information easy to find, dropping resolution times and skyrocketing satisfaction.
Emerging Technology Adoption in Local Government
In a recent survey conducted by Government Technology, 125 local government leaders shared their challenges, benefits and priorities when adopting emerging technologies such as cloud, mobility and IP. Read how your jurisdiction’s adoption of technology compares to your peers.
View All

Featured Papers