Mosquitoes and West Nile Virus in GR
West Nile Virus (WNV) is a mosquito borne disease which is carried primarily by the Culex family of mosquitoes which have preferentially adapted to breeding by the millions in City stormwater catch basins. Stopping mosquitoes is key to stopping the disease. Since being caught unprepared in the WNV epidemic of 2002, the City of Grand Rapids in 2003 and 2004 initiated larvacide mosquito control efforts in it\'s 18,000 catch basins, to prevent the disease from flaring up again. Citizens may have seen the little white \"Skeeter Beater\" jeeps. Surveillance showed reduction in mosquito populations across the City in 2003-04 of >90%, and the virus has been quiet. Other local communities have also done their part. The City is considering cutting this preventative program. The cost of the \"Skeeter Beater\" program is about $1 per person, per year. A bargain. Regular citizens would be in big trouble if we allowed nuisance conditions or public health threats to proliferate on our property. Yet the City does not want to take responsibility for maintaining their own infrastucture, holding themselves \"above the law\" in this regard. We are living on top of a gigantic mosquito factory, owned by the City, who is abdicating their maintenance responsibilities. Maintenance of infrastructure to prevent disease and nuisance is a core government function. People who work, play, shop or live in Grand Rapids should sign this petition. It will be sent on May 20 to the City Commissioners, the Mayor, and the Kent County Health Department, asking them to please do their job and maintain larval mosquito control in the catch basins to prevent another disease outbreak.