Neighbors fear pool will breed mosquitoes and West Nile

Neighbors fear pool will breed mosquitoes and West Nile »Play Video
Neighbors of this pool are concerned that its standing water will become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and the West Nile virus.

SALEM, Ore. – In a backyard of a home in a Northeast Salem neighborhood there is a pool half-filled with rain water, and neighbors told KATU News they are worried it could be a breeding ground for mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus.

There is heightened concern because Marion County budget cuts last year eliminated the agency that controls mosquitoes and other pests through spraying, and, according to the county's environmental health department, the standing water and plant life in the pool is a perfect environment for mosquitoes to live.

"We're putting out a letter to them to ask them to empty the pool and be done with it," Rick Sherman, with Marion County Environmental Health, said.

But the county can't do much more. Oregon's laws do not include fines or jail time for people who leave standing water on their property. According to the county, it is now up to homeowners to take care of the problem.

“Make sure you don't have any standing water – any kind of stagnant water. Just try to get it to move out of there," Sherman said.

The owner of the pool would not answer questions Thursday about what she's doing to fight the mosquito problem.

There are goldfish in the pool and people in the neighborhood said they hope there are enough fish to keep the mosquito population down and keep Marion County's perfect record of no West Nile cases intact.

The Center for Disease Control says the West Nile virus is spreading farther and faster this year than ever before. More than 1,100 cases have been reported in 47 states and at least 41 people have died.
So far there have been no human cases reported in Oregon and Washington, but Thursday the Klamath County Health Department announced the virus was found in a horse that died in the town of Keno. The virus has also been found in one bird in Oregon as well as mosquitoes in both Oregon and Washington.

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