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WEST NILE: Sheriff's Helicopter Crews Identify Properties Posing Health Risk

Aviation patrol officers identified more than 60 properties that required 'immediate response,' including 8 in Highland, 1 in Loma Linda, 1 in Redlands and 28 in San Bernardino, according to the Sheriff's Department.

San Bernardino County sheriff's helicopter crews recently identified scores of private properties in and near Redlands and Loma Linda that pose a West Nile risk due to untended swimming pools, ponds and stagnant water where mosquitoes that carry the virus may be breeding.

Aviation patrol officers identified more than 60 properties that required "immediate response," including 8 in Highland, 1 in Loma Linda, 1 in Redlands and 28 in San Bernardino, the Sheriff's Department announced Wednesday Oct. 10.

As of Wednesday, 9 human cases of West Nile had been reported in San Bernardino County and 10 human cases had been reported in Riverside County, according to the California Department of Public Health.

"Recently, there has been an increase of the West Nile Virus in San Bernardino County," Deputy Carlos Quezada of the sheriff's Aviation Unit said in a statement.

"The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Aviation Unit assisted County Vector Control by doing a thorough aerial search of all properties throughout the cities and unincorporated county areas for swimming pools, ponds, or other sources of stagnant discolored water with the high potential of mosquitos breeding and multiplying."

During the month of September 2012, sheriff's helicopter crews documented more than 300 properties and addresses from Fontana to Yucaipa that posed health risks, Quezada said.

Results of the aerial surveillance were listed by the Sheriff's Department as follows:

Colton: 20 properties, 3 of which needed immediate response

Fontana and Bloomington: 123 properties, 19 of which needed immediate response

Grand Terrace: 7 properties, 1 of which needed immediate response

Highland: 18 properties, 8 of which needed immediate response

Loma Linda: 4 properties, 1 of which needed immediate response

Rialto: 56 properties, 2 of which needed immediate response

Redlands: 27 properties, 1 of which needed immediate response

San Bernardino, Muscoy and Devore: 60 properties, 28 of which needed immediate response

Yucaipa: 11 properties, 0 of which needed immediate response

The documented locations were to be submitted to Vector Control officials for follow-up actions, Quezada said.

San Bernardino County health officials have offered the following tips to residents to protect themselves and their families from West Nile Virus:

Drain or Dump: Remove all standing water around your property where mosquitos lay eggs such as birdbaths, green swimming pools, ponds, old tires, buckets, clogged gutters, or even puddles from leaky sprinklers.

Dawn and Dusk:  Avoid spending time outside when mosquitos are most active.

Dress: Wear shoes, socks, and long pants and long-sleeved shirts that are loose fitting and light colored.

DEET: Apply insect repellent containing DEET according to manufacturer’s directions.

Doors: Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes to prevent mosquitos from entering your home.

Across the U.S. this year, more than 4,200 human cases of West Nile Virus, including 168 fatalities, had been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of Oct. 9.

Ten West Nile deaths have been reported so far this year in California, in Fresno (2), Glenn (1), Kern (1), Los Angeles (2), Merced (1), Placer (1), and Sacramento (2) counties, according to state health officials.

For more information, contact the County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health, Division of Environmental Health Services at (800) 442-2283 or visit www.sbcounty.gov/dehs. Information is also available on the state's West Nile Virus webpage at westnile.ca.gov.

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