Posted on Mon, Jul. 03, 2006

West Nile spray slated

Mercury News

Santa Clara County Vector Control District officials will spray a fog of insecticide in an area between West San Jose and Saratoga to prevent the spread of West Nile virus, a potentially deadly disease passed to humans via infected mosquitoes.

The decision to spray a fine mist of Pyrenone 25-5 through residential streets comes after the discovery of seven dead birds and two pools of infected mosquitoes in an area around Prospect Road and Johnson Avenue.

A mailer has been sent to 15,000 residents about a community meeting Wednesday to address the issue.

``It is a very high concern,'' said Kriss Costa, spokeswoman for the county vector control district.

She said fogging will take place overnight, although the times and exact locations have not been set yet. Pyrenone is commonly used to kill adult mosquitoes, but is not considered harmful to humans or wildlife.

The worry over West Nile is intensified by the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, when people and bloodthirsty mosquitoes are expected to mingle at evening get-togethers and fireworks events.

``The risk of people being bitten is higher,'' Costa said, especially in the area where the virus has been detected.

Although there have been no reported cases of human infection in the Bay Area so far this year, a Kern County man last week became California's first patient to be diagnosed with the potentially fatal disease in 2006.

Last year, 935 Californians were infected with West Nile virus, 19 of them fatally.

There's concern that this year's troubles are starting early.

``Last year we didn't have this situation until around August,'' said Bob Kaufman, field operations supervisor for the vector control department. ``If you go by Murphy's Law, it's possibly going to be a worse year.''

Kaufman's crew has been out in force inspecting creeks, gutters and storm drains where standing water attracts breeding mosquitoes. Workers are also responding to neighborhood reports of standing water in pools, ponds and puddles. They're urging people to call if they see dead birds, a strong sign that West Nile virus is among us.

So take caution when heading outdoors in the early morning and evening, Kaufman said. Wearing insect repellent is the best defense. Long sleeves and pants also help protect against mosquito bites.

``The people who are going to be most affected are those with weaker immune systems, the elderly, infants and anyone with an immune deficiency,'' he said.


The community meeting is at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Lynbrook High School, 1280 Johnson Ave., San Jose. For more information, call (408) 918-3404.

Contact Yomi S. Wronge at or (408) 920-5744.

© 2006 and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.