A dead bird found on Grant Road near El Camino Hospital - infected by a mosquito carrying West Nile virus - prompted four crews from the Santa Clara County Vector Control District Tuesday night to fog a large of area of Mountain View and portions of Los Altos, an operation that extended into the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Portions of Mountain View and Los Altos have seen an increase in mosquito activity lately, and West Nile virus was found in some adult mosquitoes less than a mile away, near the intersection of Cuesta Drive and Miramonte Road, according to Santa Clara County Vector Control District spokesman Bob Kaufman.
"We had the nice 90 degree weather for awhile," says Kaufman, "and that kind of cooks things a little bit, and makes the mosquitos more active."
The fogging began around 11 p.m. and lasted for about four hours in an area roughly bordered by Villa Street and Escuela Avenue on the north; Clark Avenue, Verano Drive, North Gordon Way, South El Monte Avenue and Campbell Avenue on the west; state Highway 85 and Sun Mor Avenue on the east; and Covington Road and Levin Avenue on the south. About 2500 acres were sprayed.
“The high level of (West Nile virus) activity seen elsewhere in the U.S. indicates that infection rates for the virus can surge. Control of infected adult mosquitoes is intended to prevent a surge from happening here and to prevent human cases of (West Nile virus),” said Scott Bourdon, Director of Environmental Health.
"In years past, we've had a lot of activity in the Campbell, Cupertino, Saratoga junction area," said Kaufman. "Last year, our hot spot was the Capital Expressway over by Vista Park in South San Jose."
District officials said the ultra-low concentration sprayings do not pose safety hazards for residents or the environment. Kaufman said the substance sprayed - Zenivex - is only toxic to mosquitoes and was sprayed at less than an ounce per acre.
"Basically, we use less than an ounce per acre," says Kaufman. "If you spread that out, you can see how minute the amount that we use is."
About a quarter of the area targeted Tuesday night was previously fogged during an operation on Aug. 9, Kaufman said.
Last year, the district conducted four sprayings. Last night's fogging was the second of the year. Kaufman is not yet sure if the District will need to fog again.
The Santa Clara County Vector Control District offers these tips to help protect against West Nile Virus:
- ·DRAIN or DUMP standing water weekly since this is where mosquitoes lay eggs. Check items such as flowerpots and planter bases, toys, cans, leaky water faucets and sprinklers, rain gutters, buckets, pools, ponds, and old tires.
- ·Make sure your DOORS and windows have tight-fitting screens.
- ·Limit outdoor activities during DUSK & DAWN to prevent mosquito bites. Those are the times when the mosquitoes that transmit WNV are most active.
If you need to go outside at dusk or dawn, or when in an area where mosquitoes are active:
- ·DRESS in long sleeve shirts and long pants, preferably of light colors.
- ·Apply insect repellent following label instructions.
Additionally, the agency advises:
Always contact the Vector Control District if you are being bothered by mosquitoes or know of a potential mosquito-breeding source.
Dead birds may indicate the presence of WNV and leads to the surveillance that detects the virus in mosquitoes. The district’s laboratory 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, 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
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.
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