As the West Nile virus season comes to a close (as of October 31. 2007), Santa Clara County reflects on West Nile virus activity. This year brought a 40% increase in human cases than last year; so far there have been 370 human cases, 15 of them fatal. The season in 2005 was much more severe--985 human cases reported.
Why an increase in West NIle virus activity? Officials blame neglected swimming pools at foreclosed homes through California. Who knew that green algae in a pool can attract mosquitoes? Compared to 2006, there are at least 3 times as many abandoned pools (from foreclosures or neglect) throughout the state, as identified though aerial surveillance.
To prevent further cases of West Nile viruses, pools were treated to kill breeding mosquitoes. In August, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger set aside $10 million to control mosquito breeding in the state. These preventative measures are expected to decrease the incidence of West Nile virus in California.
To read more about West Nile virus, see today's (11/8) San Jose Mercury News Peninsula section or visit www.westnile.ca.gov
and...stay out of those algae-ridden swimming pools.