Searching for West Nile breeding grounds

May 6, 2008 1:41:48 PM PDT
Santa Clara County officials are taking to the skies in hopes of spotting breeding grounds for mosquitoes that could carry West Nile virus. The housing crisis has them focused on swimming pools in homes abandoned due to foreclosure.

We were in South San Jose, specifically in the Santa Teresa neighborhood. Scientists say because of the high rate of foreclosures in the area, specifically homes with swimming pools, it puts the area in a high risk for the West Nile virus.

They will be out looking for brown, green, murky swimming pools that are not being maintained. A plane is canvassing Santa Clara County, looking at areas where homes with pools are in foreclosure. Officials have a list of 150 homes which they will fly over and take digital pictures of. They say foreclosure rate does increase the potential for West Nile.

Homes that have un maintained pools can be an instant breeding ground with mosquitoes. Last year, scientists say 30 percent of pools they found already had mosquitoes breeding.

"So, if you are breeding millions of mosquitoes in neighborhood, a single pool can add significantly if the virus is present. That just simply multiplies the number of little virus injectors that are out running around in the environment," says Russ Parman Santa Clara County Vector Control District.

There were four cases of West Nile virus in Santa Clara County last year. They are going to try to cut that down, but any neglected pools found during the aerial survey will have their pictures taken and go directly to homeowners. In the case of foreclosures, they will go to the banks to see if they can drain or clean up those pools.


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