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Program Details


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Practice Type: Model
Program Name: Project SWAT (Share the Work to Alleviate the Threat)
Organization: Erie County Health Department - Vector Control Program
Web site:
Overview: Project SWAT creates a regional partnership to have municipalities apply larvicide in storm receiver catch basins under the direction of the Erie County Health Department, Vector Control Program. Each municipality in the County of Erie was given the opportunity in 2001 to participate in the program on a voluntary basis and has continued through 2004.

The residents of Erie County are the targeted population of this program, specifically those that live in areas that are serviced by a municipal storm sewer system that utilizes storm receivers as opposed to road ditches.

Project S.W.A.T. is a regional initiative, proposed by County Executive Joel Giambra and Commissioner of Health, Dr. Anthony Billittier in late 2000 following the detection of West Nile Virus in 25 birds in 2000. The Erie County Health Department was assigned the lead role in a program to train county municipalities participating on a voluntary basis in larvicide application procedures and recognition of larval habitat. The Erie County Health Department would supply the training, the NYSDEC Permit to Apply Chemicals to Control Aquatic Insects and the larvicide product. Each municipality would supply the manpower to apply the larvicide and perform record keeping.

Year Submitted: 2005
Responsiveness and Innovation: Project SWAT addresses the public health issue and more specifically the public health threat of West Nile Virus. This issue is relevant due to the numerous dead birds, mosquito pools, and one horse found to be positive for West Nile Virus in Erie County. There also were nine human cases of West Nile Virus with one death in 2002. Project SWAT addresses this issue by attacking the primary vector species for West Nile Virus, Culex pipiens and Culex restuans in their most abundant habitat, which are storm receiver catch basins.

The application of larvicide in storm receiver catch basins is a long standing practice for controlling mosquito larva in this type of habitat. The innovative approach to this practice is applying methoprene in the form of Altosid XR during a specific time frame to maximize its residual effects in controlling the primary mosquito vector during peek West Nile Virus season for this region. This practice is labor and product intensive during a very short time frame. During the course of approximately one month from June 1 to July 1, twelve municipalities applied Altosid XR Briquets to approximately 36000 storm receiver catch basins under the direction of the Erie County Health Department. This practice differs from other approaches used to address the public health issue of West Nile Virus in that it is the only possible way that an effective amount of product could be applied through regional cooperation between the Erie County Health Department and its municipalities.

Agency and Community Roles: The Erie County Health Department was assigned the lead role in Project SWAT. Municipalities choose to participate on a voluntary basis. The Erie County Health Department supplies the prescribed NYSDEC certified pesticide applicator training, the NYSDEC Permit to Apply Chemicals to Control Aquatic Insects and the larvicide product. Erie County Health Department personnel with DEC certification accompany each municipality for field training in larvicide application procedures and recognition of larval habitat. The specifics of this process are as follows.

An intergovernmental contract was developed and executed between each municipality and the County of Erie. Pesticide Applicator Training and Field Training were completed for eleven municipalities who submitted signed contracts. One additional municipality that has had a mosquito control program for 25 years also participated.

The Erie County Health Department supplied each municipality with a copy of the permit to “Apply Chemicals to Control Aquatic Insects,” and a summary sheet of each partner’s responsibilities in the program. Also supplied is the proper amount of larvicide product to complete the task Cell phone numbers of appropriate contacts in the Erie County Health Department was supplied to each municipality. They could call to answer questions as they arise and to report standing water for inspection by the Erie County Health Department, Vector Control Program.

Costs and Expenditures: Cost of Project SWAT are as follows:

Vector Control Program Staff time is difficult to quantify. In addition to Project SWAT, the Vector Control Program is responsible for operating a state of the art Regional mosquito identification laboratory whose services are utilized currently by eight counties in Upstate New York. The Vector Control Program is conducting an aggressive West Nile Virus/mosquito surveillance program, county wide rodent control program, Lyme disease prevention and Regional tick identification service, rabies program and 8 free vaccination clinics, and environmental air monitoring and participation on the Public Health Response Team.

Resources:

  • In-kind contributions primarily consists of the manpower provided by each of the twelve participating municipality to apply larvicide to over 36,000 storm receivers. In addition, the extraordinary efforts of Greg Ten Hoeve, Univar USA, who contributes his time to set up each Pesticide Applicator Certification Course according to DEC guidelines. The presenters for this course also contribute their time. The usual and customary cost for a 30 hour course of this kind is $675 per participant and $350 for the 12 hour course. This course is provided at no cost for all participants or Erie County.

  • Financial amounts include the $2.67 cost per Altosid XR Briquet which equates to $86,991.60 for the product applied to 32,630 storm receivers in 2004.

  • No labor costs are incurred by the ECHD to apply larvicide.
The funding sources for Project SWAT include:
  • NYS reimbursement is 36% for all WNV activities performed by Vector control and all larvicide products purchased. Upon verification of a positive WNV event in Erie County, a West Nile Virus Threat is declared by the Commissioner of Health, causing NYS reimbursement increases to 50% for these activities.

  • Remaining costs after reimbursement is incurred by the County of Erie General Fund.
Implementation: Project SWAT addresses the public health issue and more specifically the public health threat of West Nile Virus. This issue is relevant due to the numerous dead birds, mosquito pools, and one horse found to be positive for West Nile Virus in Erie County. There also were nine human cases of West Nile Virus with one death in 2002. Project SWAT addresses this issue by attacking the primary vector species for West Nile Virus, Culex pipiens and Culex restuans in their most abundant habitat, which are storm receiver catch basins.

The application of larvicide in storm receiver catch basins is a long standing practice for controlling mosquito larva in this type of habitat. The innovative approach to this practice is applying methoprene in the form of Altosid XR during a specific time frame to maximize its residual effects in controlling the primary mosquito vector during peek West Nile Virus season for this region. This practice is labor and product intensive during a very short time frame. During the course of approximately one month from June 1 to July 1, twelve municipalities applied Altosid XR Briquets to approximately 36000 storm receiver catch basins under the direction of the Erie County Health Department. This practice differs from other approaches used to address the public health issue of West Nile Virus in that it is the only possible way that an effective amount of product could be applied through regional cooperation between the Erie County Health Department and its municipalities.

Sustainability: The plans to sustain this practice over time include maintaining cooperative relationships between the ECHD, Vector Control Program and the 12 participating municipalities in Project SWAT. This also includes lobbying for continued support for the Vector Control Program as a whole and its contribution toward promoting public health.

Lessons Learned:

 

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