• Increased perception of mosquito problems during a stormwater restoration project

      Kelly, Rosmarie; Georgia Department of Public Health (Georgia Public Health Association, 2015)
      In 2008, a plan for improvement of the McDaniel Branch Watershed was prepared for the city of Atlanta, Department of Watershed Management. This included the construction of ponds in a kudzu-covered area at Bowen Circle. There is a perception that wetlands create mosquito problems. In point of fact, most of the vector and nuisance species in Atlanta are either container breeders or floodwater species, and do not breed in ponds. Because there is an average of 5 cases of West Nile virus (WNV) reported in Fulton County per year, most of these near Combined Sewer Overflow streams, county residents are aware of the connection between mosquitoes and WNV. As the McDaniel Branch Watershed Improvement Plan progressed, neighborhood residents became convinced that the changes being implemented in the area were increasing mosquito problems and increasing their risk of WNV infections. In Oct 2013, the Environmental Health Section of the Georgia Department of Public Health was contacted by the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management concerning control of mosquitoes in the ponds being created at the Bowen Circle site. It was determined that mosquito surveillance should be implemented in the area to determine if the changes to the watershed area were creating a mosquito problem. At the end of the 2014 mosquito surveillance season, it was established that there was little association between the watershed improvement project, the reported mosquito exposure, and measures of mosquito production within this neighborhood.
    • Venomous spiders of the southeastern US: An unexpected threat

      Collins, Alex; Samples, Oreta; Fort Valley State University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2015)
      Background: Environmental health specialists recommend that residents of the Southeastern US, including Georgia, have the ability to identify the three venomous spiders indigenous to this area. It is necessary to recognize the black widow, brown widow, and brown recluse spiders and to be familiar with the likely habitats of these insects and with the symptoms of bites. The primary author, who serves as an Environmental Health Specialist and is a hobbyist who works with distressed wood, frequently encounters all three of these spiders. Methods: A literature review supports the fact that these three venomous spiders are indigenous to Georgia. Results: Spiders, a common sight in rural and urban areas of Georgia, are often not considered as being especially dangerous. Three common species of spiders found in Georgia are, however, venomous. Conclusions: Recognition of spiders is particularly appropriate for the protection of food service workers, employees working in tourist accommodations, and hobbyists who routinely invade spider habitats. The evaluation of educational efforts may be assessed by the numbers of reported cases of spider bites among these populations.