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April 22, 2009 > Spring Rain Means Dump and Drain

Spring Rain Means Dump and Drain

Stop mosquito development by eliminating standing water

Submitted By Erika Castillo

Recent rain and warming temperatures are ideal conditions for mosquito production. Mosquitoes develop in standing water. District manager John Rusmisel said, "We need all residents of the county to check their own front and backyards for any standing water. It takes only a tiny amount of water to breed mosquitoes." Containers, old tires, leaking faucets, children's toys, tarps, buckets, and wheel-barrows are among items property owners should inspect.

Neglected pools are also prime breeding places for mosquitoes. If you are unable to properly maintain your swimming pool or know of one that is not maintained, call the Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District for assistance. Remember that dumping and draining standing water on a regular basis is an easy and effective way to help protect you and your family from West Nile virus.

Use the following list to protect yourself from mosquito bites:

DRAIN: all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding, and don't overwater your lawn.

DAWN and DUSK: Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, especially at dawn and the first two hours after sunset.

DRESS APPROPRIATELY: When outdoors, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts.

DEET: Apply insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin according to label instructions.

DOOR and window screens: Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.

Contact us if you are being bothered by mosquitoes or know of a potential mosquito breeding source.

Most people who become infected with WNV do not experience symptoms or become ill. Only twenty percent of infected individuals will experience symptoms, and approximately one out every 150 will experience severe illness or death. Adults over 50 years old and people with compromised immune systems are at increased risk of serious complications from WNV infection. Anyone who develops symptoms such as a high fever, confusion, muscle weakness, severe headaches or stiff neck should seek medical care immediately.

As part of an on-going surveillance program, the Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District is asking the public to report any wild birds, specifically crows, ravens, jays, magpies and birds of prey that have been dead less than 48 hours (and show no signs of decomposition), to the California Department of Public Health. Their website address for reporting the dead birds is: They can also be reached by phone: 1-877-WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473).

Since horses are very susceptible to WNV and two different vaccines are available for horses, horse owners are advised to contact their veterinarians about timely vaccinations.

To date this year in California WNV has been detected in 5 counties with a total of 5 dead birds, 3 positive sentinel chicken flocks, and 3 positive mosquito samples. In 2008 California had 445 human cases of West Nile Virus including 15 fatalities.

The current surveillance program to monitor for WNV in California is the result of a collaboration among the California Department of Public Health, the University of California at Davis, California Department of Food and Agriculture, local mosquito and vector control districts, and other state and local agencies.

The public can access information about mosquitoes and West Nile Virus on our website: Residents can also pick up mosquito eating fish at our District office from 7:30-4:30pm for their fish ponds, horse troughs, etc. We are located in Hayward at 23187 Connecticut St. Our phone number is 510-783-7744. For information concerning West Nile Virus symptoms, prevention or testing please contact the Alameda County Public Health Department at 510-267-8001.

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