Vector Borne Disease Control

Vector-borne disease control is an important function of Clermont County Public Health. A vector is an organism which carries disease-causing microorganisms from one host to another. Various species of arthropods, mammals, and birds are potential disease vectors. The arthropod vectors of particular concern are mosquitoes, ticks, flies, and cockroaches. The mammal vectors most commonly of concern are rats and mice. The bird vectors of concern are any species which tend to inhabit buildings, such as pigeons.

Mosquitoes can carry diseases such as malaria, several kinds of encephalitis, and West Nile Virus (WNV). Ticks can carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF), Lyme disease, and Ehrlichiosis. Flies can carry diseases such as typhoid fever, cholera, and dysentery. Cockroaches can carry diseases such as Escherichia coli (E. Coli), and Salmonella food poisoning. Rats and mice can carry diseases such as rat-bite fever, leptospirosis, and Salmonella food poisoning. Pigeons and other birds can carry diseases such as psittacosis, and histoplasmosis.

The control of vectors in Clermont County is accomplished through nuisance complaint investigations and public education. Public Health relies on citizen participation in order to control vector-borne diseases. Citizen participation and cooperation are essential for the effective control of diseases, and disease vectors. Public Health also relies on the submission of nuisance complaints from the public in order to determine where conditions exist which might contribute to the spread of vector-borne diseases.

After a complaint investigation has been completed, orders may be issued to correct whatever condition is causing, or has the potential to cause the spread of vector-borne diseases, provided that a violation of the health nuisance regulation has been discovered. Failure to correct health nuisance violations may result in civil and/or criminal prosecution.

It is the responsibility of the property owner to correct conditions which might contribute to the spread of vectors and vector-borne diseases. Public Health does not itself perform any type of vector control. Public Health has no spraying program, and no capability to either treat or alter vector habitat.

The control of vectors can be accomplished by the application of pesticides, alteration of the vector’s habitat, or the removal of the vector’s food source. Often the best way to achieve the control of vectors is to combine these tactics into an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy. Using an IPM strategy causes less disruption to the environment, and reduces the health risks associated with the use of pesticides. Relying only on pesticides for vector control, or using pesticides indiscriminately can cause vectors to develop resistance to pesticides, and harm non-target organisms.

Vector control is best achieved by identifying the vector correctly, determining the goal of control measures, knowing what tactics are available, evaluating the benefits and risks of each tactic or combination of tactics, choosing a strategy that will be most effective and cause the least harm, and using each tactic in the strategy correctly. The strategy chosen will depend on the vector identified, as well as the kind and amount of control needed.

If a pesticide is used to control a particular type of pest, make certain the pesticide is labeled for that use, and use the pesticide only in accordance with the directions on the label. It is a violation of Federal law to use a pesticide in a manner which is not consistent with the directions on the label. It is also a violation of Federal law to apply pesticides on a property other than one’s own without a license. Public Health assumes no liability for any recommendations made regarding the use of pesticides. Except under special circumstances, Public Health cannot investigate a potential health nuisance condition without first obtaining a written complaint. The procedure for submitting health nuisance complaints can be found on this website under Public Health Nuisance Complaints.

In order to learn more about specific vectors, and the diseases they carry click on the following headings:

If additional information is needed, contact us, the Ohio State University Extension, the Ohio Department of Health, or the Centers for Disease Control.