News: Vector Control keeps tabs on pests
By Army Staff Sgt. Curt Cashour
MNC-I Public Affairs
When native fauna cause problems for the residents of the Victory Base Complex (VBC), KBR Vector Control steps in to take care of the animal problem.
As a Logistics Civil Augmentation Program manager with KBR Vector Control, Gary Orsack oversees a team of technicians responsible for keeping Victory Base Complex free from vectors, which are insects or animals that transmit diseases.
Potential vectors can take many forms. Some of the most common examples found on VBC are mosquitoes, flies, rodents, cats and dogs. Female dogs in heat can be particularly dangerous since they can attract large numbers of male dogs vying for affection, said Scott Brown, a Vector Control area supervisor who works out of Camp Liberty.
Other animals that vector technicians have dealt with include foxes, wolves and jackals, Brown said. The dogs and cats that Vector technicians encounter are mostly feral, which are domesticated breeds that are living in the wild. Iraq has a sizeable population of feral cats and dogs because many Iraqis regard them as nuisances rather than pets, Orsack said.
"If you see a stray dog, it's generations and generations removed from being a domestic animal," he said.
For this reason, Orsack said it is best for VBC residents to avoid stray cats and dogs they may encounter. To control the pest population, vector technicians use a multi-pronged approach that includes education, animal trapping techniques and a little pesticide.
"We are in the prevention, business. We try to prevent problems," Orsack said.
This prevention takes the form of yearly drives to eliminate mosquito larvae, routine inspections of VBC facilities to eliminate conditions in which pests thrive, and the emplacement of various animal and insect traps. The goal of the animal traps, many of which are scattered around the outskirts of VBC, is to catch animals before they reach areas with concentrated populations.
Vector technicians then deliver the creatures to a veterinarian on Camp Slayer, where the animals can be tested for diseases and euthanized.
To request assistance from a Vector Control technician, contact the Camp Victory Mayor' Cell at 822-2928.