Mosquito sample with West Nile virus found in Oakley, Calif.

By Rick Hurd

A mosquito carrying the West Nile virus was discovered in eastern Contra Costa County, Calif., marking the first time this year vector control officials have found such a sample in the county, a spokeswoman said Friday.

West Nile is a potentially deadly illness that is spread through . Its symptoms in humans are often mild, ranging from fever to diarrhea, body pains and vomiting. Birds are also frequent victims and may carry the virus.

Workers collected the sample this week in the area of West Cypress Road and O'Hara Avenue, said Deborah Bass, who is with the county Mosquito and Vector Control District.

A dead crow infected with the virus was found July 1 near Treat Boulevard and Bancroft Road in Walnut Creek, Calif., the vector district's website said. But no mosquito sample was discovered in that incident, Bass said.

"Dead birds can provide a reservoir for the virus," she said. The latest find "came after the discovery of a dead bird led to a search of mosquitoes in the area."

Late summer generally is when mosquitoes with West Nile virus are found, Bass said. But the milder summer weather has slowed the spread of the disease because mosquitoes multiply faster in , she said.

To reduce the risk of West Nile virus, Bass urged people not to let water sit in or to leave ponds or untreated. One neglected pool can produce more than a million mosquitoes and affect a five-mile radius, she said.

"Unfortunately, with the many foreclosures, you have many pools that have standing water," she said.

West Nile virus originated in East Africa in 1937 and arrived in the United States in 1999. It first appeared in California in 2003 and can be found in all 58 of the state's counties, according to the state Department of Public Health.

According to the mosquito district, 23 people in Contra Costa County have been diagnosed with since 2006, including two who died from the disease that year.

In California overall there have been six deaths from the disease.

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hurricanes help stop West Nile virus

Jan 23, 2006

Hurricanes caused widespread damage last year across southern Louisiana, but they reportedly produced one benefit: they helped stop West Nile virus.

Recommended for you

Female baby boomers with asthma? You may need help

1 hour ago

Women over the age of 65 face numerous barriers to good health: an increased risk for obesity, greater struggles against poverty and higher rates of asthma with worse health outcomes. An article published in the August issue ...

New guidelines help keep asthma out of 'yellow zone'

1 hour ago

If you have asthma, you may have an asthma action plan with a "stoplight system" to help you recognize and respond to changes and understand when symptoms are getting worse and need more attention. If you're in the green ...

User comments