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U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt Heinz Kiefer of the 86th Expeditionary Contingency Response Group, Environmental Medicine Flight, sets up a mosquito trap near work tents at the edge of Bashur airfield in northern Iraq last week.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt Heinz Kiefer of the 86th Expeditionary Contingency Response Group, Environmental Medicine Flight, sets up a mosquito trap near work tents at the edge of Bashur airfield in northern Iraq last week. (Courtesy of U.S. Air Force)

EAGLE BASE, Bosnia and Herzegovina — As the temperature increases in Bosnia, so do the number of mosquitoes buzzing around soldiers.

More than just a nuisance, the little bloodsuckers bring the danger of spreading diseases.

That is why the Task Force Med Eagle preventive medicine team treated the areas on and around U.S. camps in Bosnia and Herzegovina with mosquito-destroying pesticide over the past two weeks.

The team identified where there were water pools after a rain and thus determined the locations mosquitoes would commonly infest.

Briquettes containing methropene, which destroys the larvae before it hatches into adult mosquitoes, are then dropped in those areas, said Maj. Jaci Ferguson, the preventive medicine officer with Task Force Med Eagle.

The Stabilization Force got permission from local health departments to treat the areas three kilometers — about two miles — outside the base camps.

Since the mosquitoes are not long-distance fliers, that should keep the pests away from the troops, Ferguson said.

The treatment will also benefit farmers living in the surrounding areas.

The briquettes, harmful to only mosquitoes and fish, were dropped twice — each time only after the team made sure there were no fish in the area. On the first occasion, they were dropped over Camp McGovern, and the second over Camp Morgan and Eagle Base.

The pesticide treatment, which SFOR has been conducting for several years, lasts about 120 days and can last the entire season if it does not rain a lot.

“With a little bit of luck, we’ll be able to do it just once this year,” Ferguson said.

The treatment is a bonus for Eagle Base troops who enjoy doing their physical training on their one-mile track that goes through a wooded area, rather than on a treadmill.

If it were not for the treatment, after the sun sets and the lights illuminating the Eagle Base track come on, the mosquitoes would gather and attack the runners. Without the bloodsuckers, the troops can enjoy their run after their work day.

Ferguson recommended the troops still use personal protection against mosquitoes — such as sprays or creams with DEET for the skin or permephrin for uniforms — which will help them when they leave the base on patrols.


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