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A new front in war against mosquitoes

Suffolk County is planning ground spraying for adult

Suffolk County is planning ground spraying for adult mosquitoes on Fire Island Tuesday and Wednesday, July 29-30, 2014, weather permitting, health officials said. Credit: Science Source Images

The annual war on mosquitoes is underway and in a neighborhood near you. But if pesticide spraying makes you queasy, two doses of good news arrived recently.

A human clinical trial for the first vaccine against West Nile -- a virus carried by mosquitoes -- will begin this year. Aside from the spraying, Suffolk County is seeking to restore hundreds of acres of tidal wetlands, which help control mosquitoes by improving water flow and attracting fish, birds and insects that eat mosquitoes and larvae. These steps could help eliminate the need for aerial spraying. That would be a wonderful outcome in the fight against West Nile, which has raged since it appeared 16 years ago in Queens.

A vaccine also would eliminate the most legitimate justification for spraying mosquitoes. Because not liking them is not reason enough.