With warmer weather comes mosquitoes and the threat of West Nile Virus. The City of Bellevue is working with Public Health -- Seattle and King County to educate citizens about West Nile Virus and steps they can take to reduce mosquitoes on their property. Mosquitoes infected with the virus can spread it to humans, horses and other animals.
The Bellevue City Council has given the Utilities Department authority to apply larvicide to city-owned storm drain catch basins this summer if necessary. The larvicide, Bacillus sphaericus, often used in organic gardening, is environmentally friendly and harmful only to mosquito larvae, not pets or people. Public Health has requested 39 local cities and agencies to take similar action during the 2007 and 2008 mosquito seasons.
To breed, mosquitoes need a small amount of water that stays stagnant for at least seven days, conditions often found in catch basins. Bellevue manages less than a quarter of the land in the city, so other property owners are urged to reduce mosquitoes on their property by removing stagnant water and frequently changing the water in birdbaths, pet bowls and other containers.
Detailed information, including a flier in multiple languages, can be found at Public Health's West Nile Virus web page or by calling the West Nile hotline at 206-205-3883.
The first human cases of West Nile Virus were confirmed in Washington in 2006 -- two in Pierce County and one in Clark County. All three people had mild symptoms and recovered. The virus was also detected last year in King County when six dead birds (one in Bellevue’s Somerset area) tested positive for the virus, and one horse died from the disease. Given these findings and how the virus has spread across the country since 1999, Public Health is predicting that there will be more cases of the virus in Washington in 2007.
West Nile Virus can infect humans, birds, mosquitoes, horses and other animals. People bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus usually experience mild flu-like symptoms; less than one percent experience a more serious form of the disease. For more information about West Nile Virus, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web page and the city's West Nile Virus web page.
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