Praise for the Effort to Fight West Nile


Re “Complacency Boosts West Nile Peril,” Commentary, Sept. 6: Though correct in her call for additional resources dedicated to mosquito control, Laurie Garrett missed the mark with her assertion that California’s West Nile control efforts have suffered from complacency. In doing so, she did an enormous disservice to the 70-plus mosquito control agencies and their employees who have worked tirelessly this summer battling a virus we have been preparing for from the moment it arrived in New York in 1999.

Although every West Nile death and disabling case is regrettable, California has seen disease transmission rates four times lower than Arizona this summer and 44 times lower than Colorado saw last year. That is a testament to effective mosquito control.

However, additional resources are needed to ensure that we can finish the job this mosquito season and be ready in future years. The federal government, as it has done for other states, should provide California with emergency funding to bolster West Nile control programs.


Craig Downs

Pres., Mosquito and Vector

Control Assn. of California