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NASTY SURGE LIKELY IN WEST NILE CASES.

Byline: Troy Anderson

Staff Writer

Los Angeles County officials are bracing for the worst West Nile virus season in California since 2005, and the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday called for a variety of agencies to help prevent an epidemic.

The motion by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich directs county public health and public works officials to educate the public on fighting and avoiding mosquitoes, which carry the West Nile virus infection to humans, and to find and clear water where the insects lay their eggs.

"Los Angeles County is committed to preventing this virus from growing to epidemic proportions," Antonovich said.

While the number of West Nile cases fell dramatically in 2006 and 2007, officials say they have seen a surge this year in the number of dead birds and mosquito samples that tested positive.

By early this month, 41 dead birds and 20 mosquito samples tested positive, a major increase from the three dead birds and seven mosquito samples infected with the virus by early July last year.

No human cases have been reported so far this year, but there were none by early July 2007, and 36 people eventually were infected last year.

"This year, we're definitely seeing more activity in the Los Angeles Basin and we're seeing it a little bit wider spread out," said Susanne Kluh, scientific technical services director for the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District. Reports of dead birds have come from La Crescenta, Arcadia, Covina, Temple City, El Monte and San Gabriel.

Officials are especially concerned about mosquitoes breeding in abandoned and stagnant swimming pools.

"We are having a big problem with house foreclosures and the resulting unattended swimming pools," Kluh said. "If you have a foreclosure in your area, contact your local vector control district if you think the swimming pool is going unattended."

For more information, go to www.glacvcd.org or westnile. ca.gov. To report a stagnant pool, call 562-944-9656.

troy.anderson@dailynews.com

213-974-8985
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:ST
Date:Jul 16, 2008
Words:328
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