MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (KGO) --Santa Clara County officials say the risk of West Nile Virus is higher than normal this year. Five people have already tested positive for the disease and one remains hospitalized.
Mosquitoes infected with West Nile arrived in the Bay Area in 2004 and have sickened more than a dozen people in Santa Clara County since then.
"Based on everything we're seeing, this is the record breaking year of all time," said Russ Parman of Santa Clara County Vector Control.
Of the five people infected, three are men and two are women, all over the age of 50. Two of them suffered Encephalitis and required hospitalization.
"You'll get things like a severe headache, a fever and you may not be completely with it," said Dr. George Han, Communicable Disease Controller for Santa Clara County Public Health Department.
Health officials track the mosquitoes carrying West Nile by the location of dead birds and have found nearly 700 this summer.
"This year we have already beat the entire season record for the number of dead birds and numbers of positive birds and we've still got at least six weeks of active season ahead of us," said Parman.
The infected mosquitoes are concentrated in Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Cupertino, Campbell and parts of San Jose. As a result, Vector Control has increased the number of foggings. They've already had 16 this year.
That's five more foggings than last year and triple the typical amount. Some think the drought could be to blame.
"It's concentrating the water sources for the birds and mosquitoes and when they get more concentrated, they transmit the virus faster," said Han.
A small amount of standing water can breed a mosquito colony in less than a week, so health officials recommend diligence.
Officials also recommend using repellent and covering up if you go outside around dusk or dawn.