Quantcast

Pest control Airmen protect personnel, families from deadly dise - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Pest control Airmen protect personnel, families from deadly diseases

Posted: Updated:
Staff Sgt. Scott Addis, 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron pest management journeyman, sprays herbicide on Barksdale Air Force Base / U.S. Air Force photo Staff Sgt. Scott Addis, 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron pest management journeyman, sprays herbicide on Barksdale Air Force Base / U.S. Air Force photo
Bumble, a ball python on Barksdale Air Force Base, as well as other creatures such as mice, tarantulas, scorpions and more, are used for familiarity training for new Airmen. / U.S. Air Force photo Bumble, a ball python on Barksdale Air Force Base, as well as other creatures such as mice, tarantulas, scorpions and more, are used for familiarity training for new Airmen. / U.S. Air Force photo
by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Raughton / 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

(BAFB) - Airmen and their families inhabit and work on more than 80,000 acres on Barksdale, which are also home to mosquitoes, snakes, racoons, alligators and other wildlife.

The 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron pest management flight is Team Barksdale's front line in the war against deadly insect and animal-borne diseases.

"We're the first line of defense against West Nile virus, Yellow Fever, the plague, and others," said Master Sgt. Jennifer Alexander, 2nd CES entomologist and pest management NCO in-charge. "Our job is to prevent people from illnesses or death from insect-borne diseases, which are the number one cause of death in the world."

Most of these serious illnesses may be contracted through mosquito bites, which can carry disease from one human or animal to the next.

Not only are insects able to transmit these diseases, but the seven Airmen of pest management are also vigilant for other wildlife.

Consequently, most vectors that pest management comes in contact with that are known rabies carriers, such as skunks and raccoons, must be euthanized to reduce risk to the base population. Other animals, such as stray cats, are given to local shelters for care and, hopefully, adoption.

Rabies is a virus that infects the central nervous system that is most often transmitted from animal to human and is often fatal.

Extracting wild animals from any given location on Barksdale requires dedicated training and knowledge on animal behavior, and risks - especially for new Airmen who aren't familiar with the local wildlife.

"When a creature gets into a place where it isn't supposed to be, we can't take the chance that it won't have rabies," said Airman 1st Class Shana Neal, 2nd CES pest control apprentice.

Fortunately, pest management cares for "Bumble," their own ball python, as well as other kinds of snakes, mice, and arachnids such as scorpions and tarantulas one might expect to see in the local area. These domesticated wildlife allow Airmen to learn the creatures' behaviors and mannerisms. An Airman may also overcome natural fears, animal phobias and even learn about how the wildlife interact with each other and their food sources.

However, there would be no need for live training resources if pest management couldn't defend others from illnesses or injuries caused by insects or wildlife.

"We work hand-in-hand with the 2nd Medical Group," Alexander said. "While they provide immunizations against these diseases, we're also being vigilant to catch these vectors wherever they may be."

From catching skunks on the golf course to retrieving a raccoon from a B-52 cockpit, pest management will do whatever it takes to protect Airmen from animal and insect diseases so that Airmen are healthy enough to focus directly on the mission to provide devastating B-52H Stratofortress combat capability and unmatched expeditionary combat Airmen - anytime, anywhere.

article courtesy www.barksdale.af.mil 
  • KTBS 3 News Tips

    Send your news tip or story idea to the KTBS 3 Newsroom.  Enter your email address below to get started.

    * denotes required fields
    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thank you for your submission to KTBS 3 News.  A member of our staff may contact you for more information.

Share Your Images
Powered by WorldNow
    Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KTBS. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.
    Advertising | EEO Public File | KTBS 3 Public File | KPXJ 21 Public File