Local authorities in Menlo Park, California are planning to conduct fumigation in the city this coming weekend in order to prevent the spread of West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes.

The Mosquito and Vector Control District of San Mateo County announced on Wednesday that the mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus (WNV) were detected in the area covered by the ZIP code 94025.

If the weather permits, the fumigation will be carried out from 9 p.m. on Sunday until 5 a.m. on Monday. Its coverage will include [pdf] a large residential area stretching from the Menlo Avenue to the north, Waverley Street to the east, San Mateo Drive to the west and Creek Drive to the south.

Experts will collect samples of the mosquitoes from the area after the fumigation, and if any of them proves to be carrying the West Nile virus, they will conduct another fogging operation.

In its official website, the Mosquito and Vector Control District said that the synthetic ingredient they used for the fumigation is Zenivex E4, which the district said poses only minimal risk to humans and the environment. The fogging chemical is applied to areas in low doses to allow most of its material to gradually evaporate or break down before the compound could set on surfaces.

The district added that fumigation is often conducted during early-morning hours because it is when other insects, such as butterflies and bees, are less active in the day.

To prevent the transmission of the WNV to humans through mosquito bites, residents are advised to use mosquito repellents made using the ingredient picaridin, N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET), Ethyl butylacetylaminopropionate (IR 3535) or oil of lemon eucalyptus.

Locals are also urged to keep their doors and windows closed and remove standing water around their homes to keep the mosquitoes from having a place where they can thrive and multiply.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines the West Nile virus as an arbovirus typically spread by disease carrying mosquitoes.

Patients infected with the disease often experience severe fever, and in serious cases, an inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) and an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord's lining (meningitis).

Photo: Everglades NPS | Flickr 

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