|West Nile virus warnings posted in Livermore and Pleasanton|
By Meera Pal
CONTRA COSTA TIMES
Signs have been posted in Livermore parks and at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, warning residents that several birds, squirrels and mosquitoes were found infected with West Nile virus.
While no human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Alameda County, officials from the county's Mosquito Abatement District say it is a matter of time.
"We are going to see a human case pretty soon in Tri-Valley," said John Rusmisel, district manager. "These cases are more concentrated."
The district was first notified of a dead bird in southwest Livermore on Aug. 6. Lab results came back positive for West Nile virus. Since then, the district has collected five infected birds and one squirrel and identified three positive mosquito pools in southwest Livermore.
This morning, warning signs were posted at El Padro and Max Baer parks in Livermore and in the general vicinity.
The abatement district is concentrating on an area bordered by Isabel Avenue on the west side, Highway 84 on the east, and El Caminito and Stanley Boulevard on the north in Livermore and at the fairgrounds in Pleasanton.
The district is treating and keeping an eye on catch basins, storm drains and swimming pools in that area, Rusimelhe said.
According to the district's Web site, "mosquitoes need stagnant water in order to lay their eggs . . . if it can hold water for more than a few days, it can breed mosquitoes."
So far this year, Rusmisel said the district has positively identified 17 birds with the virus in Alameda County, compared to last year's total of 48. This year, they have marked seven positive mosquito pools, two at the fairgrounds in Pleasanton.
"This is the first time we have put up signs" anywhere in the county, Rusmisel said.
It is the concentration of infected mosquito pools in the area that cause concern, he said. Birds can fly in from other locations. Infected mosquitoes make it easier to transfer the disease to humans.
PREVENT MOSQUITO BITES
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 20 percent of people who become infected with the virus will develop West Nile fever. Symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness, and body aches. The illness can last anywhere between a few days to several weeks.
"People describe it as the worst headache they've ever had," Rusmisel said.
The signs are not intended to alarm anyone, but to remind Tri-Valley residents that the threat of West Nile virus is real.