West Nile Virus spraying starts in Antioch

July 17, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
All the foreclosures are causing another problem with not only empty homes, but abandoned pools. That problem is leading to a worse mosquito problem this year. In fact, three neighborhoods in Antioch were being fogged for mosquitoes: the Mira Vista Park, Lake Alhambra and Eagle-Ridge Park areas. Vector control workers are trying to reduce the risk of the West Nile Virus.

The fogging started as soon as the sun went down. Contra Costa County's Mosquito and Vector Control District made the decision to fog three Antioch neighborhoods Wednesday, when the risk of West Nile Virus to humans became increasingly clear.

"We've had the infected birds that have been showing up for the better part of a couple months. We've also had the infected mosquitoes that are starting to show up for the past few weeks," said Carlos Sanabria.

Before the fogging began, workers checked the wind speed and temperature to make sure the conditions were just right. This job comes two months earlier than last year. Vector control experts say the mosquito situation is worse this summer because of the growing number of foreclosed properties throughout this East Bay city.

Abandoned and neglected pools have become breeding havens for mosquitoes. For Bryan Olegario, all of this is a bit surprising. He lives in one of the neighborhoods being fogged.

"I know Antioch has a high foreclosure but in this area it's really surprising because these are older homes and established neighborhoods and everyone around here is an original owner," said Bryan Olegario, an Antioch resident.

Vector control experts say no matter what neighborhood you live in, the risk of catching the West Nile Virus remains because mosquitoes have a flight range of three to five miles.

"So it doesn't take very many pools in an area to really cause a significant risk for a neighborhood. That's why it's important for everybody to keep an eye on what's going on in their neighborhoods," said Sanabria.

If you suspect an abandoned pool, vector control wants you to call them. They are getting about 10 new cases of abandoned pools a day.

For information about human West Nile virus symptoms, prevention or testing, please call Contra Costa Health Services at (888) 959-9911.


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