One hundred-thousand acres of wetlands and some 300 dairy farms make Merced County a prime breeding ground for mosquitoes. Last year, three horses contracted the disease and one died in the county. But there was only one non-fatal human case reported.
County officials say it was quick anti-mosquito action that prevented more human infection. Mosquito Abatement District manager Allen Inman says this year they once again launched an early spring attack on mosquitoes.
"We try to find the source of the mosquito problem and you try to eliminate the source by physical means at first and then if that doesn't work then we have a number of biological and bio-rational larvacides that we can use."
The county's arsenal includes four airplanes for spraying insecticide. But Inman says property owners must help discourage breeding by doing things like eliminating standing water from their yards.
Inman says a lack of money could be a concern. He says his annual budget of one-point-eight-million dollars will be stretched, given the amount of acreage that has to be monitored.
(Photo courtesy: Merced County Mosquito Abatement District)