West Nile Worries Return To Bay Area

Sunday, Sep 5, 2010  |  Updated 9:30 AM PDT
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West Nile Worries Return To Bay Area

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Dallas County will spend more than $300,000 to fight mosquitos this year.

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Two animals in San Mateo County were found to be carrying West  Nile Virus last month, the county's Mosquito and Vector Control District  reported in a statement.

The infected raven and squirrel found in August raised concern  about the possibility of West Nile Virus circulation in the county. The  disease is usually spread through bites from infected mosquitoes, the  statement said.

The squirrel, which was found in Redwood City on Aug. 17, is the  second dead squirrel to test positive for the virus in San Mateo County this  year, the statement said.

The raven was picked up in Portola Valley on Aug. 24, but the low  level of West Nile Virus in that bird indicates that it may have been  infected as long ago as last year, the statement said.

 Ravens do not travel long distances, the Control District said, so  it is likely that the bird became infected somewhere in or near Portola  Valley. Ravens, crows, and jays are all particularly susceptible to West Nile  Virus.

The organization is asking county residents to help them figure  out whether the virus is circulating in the environment or being carried by  infected mosquitoes by reporting dead birds and tree squirrels either online  at www.westnile.ca.gov or by phone at (877) 968-2473.

The district suggests that people can reduce the risk of being  bitten by contaminated mosquitoes by eliminating standing water, wearing  mosquito repellent when an abundance of the bugs is present, and staying  covered or indoors during dawn and dusk.

 People over the age of 55 are most at risk for contracting the  virus, the Control District said.

Most people who get the disease do not show any symptoms, but  about 20 percent of those infected may experience flu-like symptoms, the  statement said. One in 150 people may develop a serious illness that can  leave permanent neurological damage.

To report a major mosquito problem in San Mateo County, contact  the Control District at (650) 344-8592. More information about West Nile  Virus can be found online at www.smcmad.org.
 

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