County begins annual fight against West Nile virus
SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego County began its annual program of fighting West Nile virus Wednesday by spraying a pond on the city limits between Chula Vista and the Palm City section of San Diego with larvicide.
The illness spread in the area in 2003, and people contract it from mosquito bites, which makes abatement of the insects a priority, officials said.
“So far, our efforts have paid off,” Supervisor Greg Cox said. “Last year, there wasn't a single reported human case of West Nile virus in San Diego County.”
County workers spray larvicide from helicopters and backpack blowers, distribute fish that eat mosquitos and look out for green pools.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the disease causes serious problems for about one in 150 infected patients, sometimes causing paralysis and permanent neurological damage. About 80 percent of those infected show no symptoms at all.
“We've just had a very wet winter, which means better breeding for the mosquitoes that can carry West Nile virus,” Cox said.
County officials said residents should protect themselves from mosquito bites by remaining inside when the bugs are most active, at dawn and dusk; dump any still water in buckets, wheel barrows and plant saucers; and report dead birds and green pools to the county.