Neglected Pools Contributing to West Nile

June 25, 2008 9:09:31 PM PDT
West Nile Virus has been detected in Fresno County, but there are new concerns the housing crisis could be spreading the virus. Tim Philips carries a bucket that holds a weapon against mosquitoes, and the West Nile Virus they carry. Tiny fish inside the bucket eat the mosquito larvae lurking in green, stagnant pools. Philips works for Fresno's mosquito and vector control district. His job is to treat the neglect pools. Phillip said while referencing a green pool next to him, "There was probably tens of thousands of mosquitoes ... coming off every day from this pool. Might ruin your BBQ a couple of blocks away."

Stagnant pools are becoming very common in Fresno. Mosquito abatement teams are treating 12-hundred more pools this year compared to last year. County officials say the problem is with the economy. Homeowners just don't have the money to maintain their pools, and more foreclosures mean more homes are vacant and pools neglected. Mosquitoes need water to reproduce, and they are major carriers of West Nile Virus ..disease that can kill humans.

David Luchini with the Fresno County Health Department said, "We have several examples of very healthy people 30s and 40s that come down with West Nile and have residue effects ... long term, years after they've been infected ... weakness in the legs, fatigue, double vision."

Matt Munguia said he's not afraid of West Nile Virus even though a green, slimy pool is across the street. Munguia said, "Sometimes it crosses my mind. But I figure what are the odds it happens to me or something like that." The odds are on his side. Fresno County Health Officials report no cases of human West Nile this year, but a Tulare County woman was diagnosed with the virus last week.


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