West Nile Virus more likely
in San Francisco this year, health officials warn
Photo courtesy U.S.
Bay City News Service
May 30, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - San Franciscans should take extra
steps to protect themselves from West Nile Virus this year because
this winter's excessive rain and late spring storms have increased
the chances of the disease affecting the Bay Area, public health
West Nile Virus is especially dangerous to the very young and
the elderly as well as anyone with a weakened immune system, according
to San Francisco Director of Public Health Mitch Katz.
In 2005, 19 Californians died and 935 became ill after being
infected with the virus, which is transmitted to humans by infected
None of last year's deaths in San Francisco was from a case of
the disease acquired locally, but recent wet weather in Northern
California has increased the likelihood of the stagnant and standing
water conditions mosquitoes breed in, according to health officials.
In response, city agencies have stepped up monitoring of city
parks, reservoirs and other public areas.
The department emphasizes the importance of reducing sources
of standing water near homes as well as wearing long pants and
long-sleeved clothing while outdoors at dawn and dusk and applying
insect repellent according to manufacturers' instructions.
Community groups and individuals can order information brochures
about West Nile Virus and the "Fight the Bite" campaign
in seven different languages by calling (415) 252 3806 or by visiting
the Web site http://www.sfmosquito.org.
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