Pools may be breeding grounds for West Nile

May 19, 2008 8:23:32 PM PDT
If you own a pool in Santa Clara County and it looks more green than blue, you can expect a knock on your door.

Vector control wants to talk with you. That's because West Nile Virus season is here again.

Some pools in Santa Clara County are potential breeding grounds for West Nile Virus.

"A single backyard swimming pool that's unmanned can bred millions of mosquitoes," said Russ Parman from Santa Clara County Vector Control District.

This is the third year the county has used a plane and digital equipment to identify neglected pools.

The results: Out of 188 pools photographed in the Gilroy/Morgan Hill area, more than half, 101 are suspect.

In the South San Jose/Saratoga area, the district has images of 486 pools with 158 red flagged.

So far, only one dead bird has tested positive in the county for West Nile Virus, but the problem will get worse as the weather gets hotter.

"Our first heat wave was last week, 100 plus temperatures so we expect to see a lot more mosquito activity," said vector control lab tech Mike Stephenson.

Last year across California, there were 387 human cases of West Nile Virus. Most of those were in Southern California, but four of the people infected lived in Santa Clara County.

Richard Tanaka is meticulous about cleaning his pool but he knows that won't protect him if other people don't take the same precautions.

"I wish they keep clean so the mosquitoes don't hatch," said Tanaka.

This year, there is also the added wrinkle of more foreclosed properties.

Parman says the county has identified 158 homes with pools that are now banked owned.

"Now some of those are going to match up with properties we've already aware of. Some of those will match up with new aerial pool surveillance," said Parman.

The district will soon begin stocking those pools with mosquito eating fish. They offer the same service for free to any homeowner who doesn't want to clean or drain their problem pool.


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