Mosquito season hits Bay Area

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Like the proverbial canary in the coal mine, a pair of dead birds has tested positive for West Nile Virus on the Peninsula–and that means mosquito season is here and vector control is taking action. 

Dead crows found in Mountain View and Palo Alto have tested positive for West Nile Virus.

It means that mosquito season has arrived and with it the potential for the spread of the virus to humans.

“Once the mosquitoes are flying, and we know a certain proportion of them have the virus in them, they’re like little hypodermic needles and anyone who gets bitten by one of those mosquitoes is going to acquire an infection,” Santa Clara County Vector Control Assistant Manager Russ Parman said.

That’s why vector control is hunting for mosquitoes breeding. Trapping and testing are underway.

So far, no human cases of West Nile have been reported, but the virus is out there and the threat is real.

“Eight out of 10 people won’t even know it,” Parman said. “They’ll develop antibodies and go on with their lives but the smaller percentage can develop more serious problems like encephalitis and nerve damage.”

If and when mosquitoes test positive for the virus, fogging is likely to begin. In the meantime, technicians are looking for and killing mosquito larvae that can be found in virtually any quantity of stagnant water from a curbside puddle like this to a bird bath or pet food dish.

“If we find clusters of dead birds that means the virus is being amplified in the birds, the mosquitoes are biting the birds, and the birds are dying and that’s when we find them,” Parman said.

So get rid of that standing water, says vector control, before the mosquitoes find you.

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