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Home Foreclosures and Abondoned Swimming Pools, Public Health Risk

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This last year, the number of homes headed towards or in foreclosure has risen dramatically.  Along with this abandoned swimming pools is causing a major public health concern!  Empty houses can hide unmaintained swimming pools, spas, fountains, and bird baths, which can provide stagnant water for mosquitoes to breed in.

This increase in backyard breeding grounds may lead to a rise in West Nile virus transmissions.  As most residences of California know the West Nile virus is spread through the bite of infected mosquitoes and may led to debilitating health conditions.  In 2007, 380 human cases of West Nile were reported in California resulting in 21 deaths.  The virus is even more deadly to our bird population. 

We all need to be proactive in a defense against this disease transmission.  Here are some things we can do to protect ourselves.

To protect yourself avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn.  Wear long sleeve shirts and pants during these hours and apply an approved insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon grass or eucalyptus.  Note that the natural repellents need to be reapplied every hour or so to remain effective.  Make sure your screens on your doors and windows are tight fitting.  Protect your pets also, contact your Vet for the best safe products for your dogs and cats.

The best protection is to eliminate the breeding grounds.  Eliminate all sources of standing water around your home and property.  Even 1 inch of standing water can produce mosquitoes.  Properly maintain ornamental ponds, pools and spas.

Be the noisy neighbor!  If you know or suspect that there is a pool or pond in your neighborhood not being maintained, call Vector Control and report it. 

You can contact the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District by calling (818) 364-9589 (Sylmar Branch) or (562) 944-9656 (Santa Fe Springs).  You can also visit their website at www.glacvcd.org.

The California Department of Public Health is also a great source for up-to-date information on West Nile virus.  Visit www.westnile.ca.gov.  If you find a dead bird or squirrel call 1-877-WNV-BIRD

Published Thursday, July 17, 2008 11:46 AM by Jana Davis

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