Mosquito control crews have begun driving through parts of Sacramento with truck-mounted fogging machines to help stop the spread of West Nile Virus. The treatments were prompted by an uptick in dead birds and infected mosquitoes.
The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District says 14 new birds and 13 mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile Virus this week. That brings the total so far this year to 23 dead birds and 16 mosquito samples.
Luz Maria Robles with the district says in response, crews are increasing surveillance by setting out more traps to collect mosquito samples.
"And then of course we also have to do treatments in neighborhoods to suppress the abundance of those adult infected mosquitoes, so we do that," says Robles. "At the moment we're doing some ground fogging around areas where those positive mosquitoes and birds were found."
Robles attributes the increase in dead birds and mosquito samples to last week's heat wave. She says hot weather accelerates the mosquito life cycle and can quickly amplify the virus.
"We see this every year where we start to see West Nile Virus activity," she says. "And especially since last week we had such hot weather we were not surprised to find that now obviously the virus is within the mosquito population as well as within the birds."
Robles says the new samples were collected from different spots, but most of the activity is concentrated in the Arden Arcade and North Highlands areas. So far this year, no human cases of West Nile Virus have been reported in the region. Last year, there were four cases in Sacramento County and eight in Yolo County.
Most people infected by the virus have no signs or symptoms. About 20 percent could have flu-like symptoms. And one percent may develop an infection that affects their neurological system.