SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – Weather permitting, the Santa Clara County Vector Control District (the District) will conduct an aerial survey of urban areas in West San José, Campbell, Cupertino, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, and Los Gatos on Monday, May 16. This operation will cover approximately 80 square miles and is designed to identify neglected swimming pools and other possible mosquito breeding sources.
A survey plane will take digital pictures of the area from an altitude of 5,000 feet. The District will review the results of the aerial survey and determine which pools require immediate attention. District technicians will then contact the property owners or managers to arrange for the pools to be checked.
While local rainfall this season is slightly below normal, all indications are that the problem of neglected pools will continue to be a major factor in the dynamics of West Nile Virus (WNV) this year. A single poorly maintained pool in a back yard can produce millions of mosquitoes during the warm season. Since 2007, the District’s aerial survey has cataloged over 3,100 locations with neglected pools, and the total inventory of neglected pools now stands at over 4,000. Almost half of the mosquito control treatments applied to these properties have consisted of free delivery and planting of mosquito fish, which eat immature mosquitoes.
Response to the aerial survey program has been encouraging over the years. District technicians who contacted and explained to property owners the health risk posed by neglected swimming pools have noted that most of the owners have taken immediate steps to resolve the problem. Formal legal abatement is seldom necessary.
Transmitted by mosquito bites, WNV causes mild to severe flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, and, in severe cases, significant neurological damage or even death. The elderly and those with compromised immune systems are most susceptible. Since the arrival of WNV to California in 2003, 2,988 people have contracted the disease and 101 people have died.
It is important for all residents to take the following precautions against mosquito bites:
- Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding.
- When outdoors, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. This is especially important at dawn and sunset when mosquitoes are most active.
- Apply insect repellent.
- Make sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
- Contact the Vector Control District if you are being bothered by mosquitoes or know of a potential mosquito-breeding source.
- Report dead birds to the State of California WNV hotline at 877-WNV-BIRD or at www.westnile.ca.gov.
Dead birds may indicate the presence of WNV. The District has recently completed its new laboratory, which allows in-house testing for WNV and other vector-borne diseases throughout the year. The District asks Santa Clara County residents to report crows, jays, sparrows, finches, or birds of prey that have been dead for less than 48 hours and do not appear to have died because of an injury. People who find those birds should call the State of California WNV hotline at 877-WNV-BIRD (2473) or at www.westnile.ca.gov.
So far this year, the District has detected three crows that have tested positive for West Nile Virus. The crows were found in Sunnyvale (zip code 94087), Mountain View (zip code 94040), and Southeast San Jose (zip code 95125).
For free assistance on mosquito control, WNV, or other vectors, residents can contact the District office by calling (408) 918-4770/(800) 675-1155, or fill out a service request online at www.sccvector.org.
Aerial Survey for Mosquito Sources (MAP)
Media Contact: Noor Tietze, 408-210-5773; José Colomé, 408-210-5774; Nayer Zahiri, 408-593-4089
Posted: May 13, 2011