West Nile Virus – Livonia’s Prevention Programs

A Brief History
The West Nile Virus has existed since the 1930's in parts of Africa, Europe and eastern Asia. The original version of West Nile, now dubbed Old World West Nile, did not kill birds.  In 1998, a new strain, now dubbed New World West Nile, was found in Israel and birds started dying.  The virus arrived in the western hemisphere in the summer of 1999 in the New York City area.  From the mid-Atlantic it has spread west arriving in southeastern Michigan in August 2001.  At that time, in the fall of 2001, the virus only infected the bird population in Michigan. The first human case of West Nile Virus that was reported in our area occurred in summer of 2002.

The Concern
The West Nile Virus has become a public health threat.
  Just the right evolutionary change has occurred in the genes of the virus where birds have become susceptible.  Birds have an overabundant population and, with no immunity to the virus, upon becoming infected they can spread the virus to other mosquitoes, which in turn can bite humans.  The favorable environmental conditions in our urban environment, with catch basins and other standing water conditions, makes our communities the perfect breeding grounds mosquitoes and the continuous spread of the virus.

Prevention Programs
Storm Sewer Catch Basin Treatment
All storm sewer catch basins on City streets are treated with a 150-day slow release larvicide product.  The culex species of mosquito is the main carrier of West Nile Virus and catch basins are a favorite breeding ground for this species. 

Education & Monitoring
The first line of defense in the control of mosquito populations begins on a resident’s property.  Mosquitoes will lay eggs where standing water presents itself.  Property needs to be inspected and containers such as flowerpots, tires, buckets, toys or any items that will collect water needs to be eliminated.  Gutters and swimming pool covers need to be checked, change birdbath water frequently, turn over wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.  Where possible drain off pools of standing water that remain for several days. Dead bird (crow, blue jay & raven) locations may be e-mailed to dps@ci.livonia.mi.us.

Parks & Recreational Facilities
The City of Livonia treats parks & recreational facilities as required with an environmentally safe larvicide where standing water exists or may exist.  Parks are natural drainage areas and these facilities have larger groups gather for picnics, playgrounds and baseball & soccer games.  This mosquito control effort will help reduce overall populations and make recreational experiences more enjoyable. 

of Larvicide Products
The City of Livonia has mosquito control products for sale, at cost, for Livonia Residents.  These products are designed to control mosquito populations at the larvae growth stage of the mosquito.  The larvae ingest the larvicide, which contains a naturally occurring bacterium, causing the digestive process to be disrupted and the larvae will die.  These products are harmless to aquatic and other life forms.  Application of larvicide products generally begins about May 1, unless colder weather conditions persist.  Larvicide products have no effect on mosquitoes already at the adult stage.   Mosquito Dunks, ($4.25 pkg of two), a time-release product for use where standing water conditions persist. Mosquito Bits, ($9.00 36oz), a “quick kill” product for use in temporary standing water conditions. Vecto-Lex WSP, ($27.00 bag of 40 pouches), a time-release product for larger areas such as water gardens, ponds, etc.

These products are available Monday through Friday 8:30am to 5:00pm at the Department of Public Works Yard 12973 Farmington Rd (Located one block south of Schoolcraft, west of Farmington) For additional information on West Nile Virus the following websites are available:

State of Michigan

Centers for Disease Control

For questions regarding Livonia’s Mosquito Control Programs please contact Public Service at (734) 466-2655.