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Mosquito Virus is a Concern

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Original Title:
Mosquito Abatement Underway as West Nile Concerns Continue

All the rain that has fallen in Northern California is causing a concern besides flooding. Experts are also worried about West Nile Virus. For the second time this year, Sacramento County officials have found a bird that tested positive for the virus. This time the bird was found in the Arden area along the American River.

Meanwhile, mosquito abatement crews with the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District took advantage of the break in the rain Friday, inspecting many local areas for potential mosquito breeding grounds.

While increasing temperatures and standing water contribute to exploding mosquito populations, workers also paid particular attention to hollowed-out spots of collected water in trees. Inside, inspectors can often find the home of the Aedes mosquito, a very aggressive species of mosquito.

"Mosquitoes just find a way to get in there and lay their eggs. It's crazy," Mosquito Control District's Dennis Chan said.

Chan said while they haven't been known to carry West Nile, Aedes mosquitoes feed at all hours, rather than the usual dusk or dawn feeding times found in other mosquito species.

Mosquito and Vector Control says it is critical that people drain any standing water that can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Residents are also urged to take the following precautions:
- Avoid being outside during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active
- Dress in long sleeves and pants when outdoors
- Defend yourself by using an effective repellent that contains DEET
- Make sure door and window screens are in tact to keep mosquitoes outside.

In California, there were 935 human cases of West Nile virus in 2005. The virus is considered relatively difficult for humans to contract and causes only mild flu-like symptoms in most of those who are infected. However, about 1 percent of those who contract the disease will develop encephalitis, an infection of the brain, or meningitis, an inflammation of the membrane around the brain and the spinal cord. Either of the more serious conditions can be fatal.

(This story was provided by News10 KXTV Sacramento.)

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