West Nile virus activity has been low so far this season in Orange County, except for La Habra, where vector control officials will spray pesticide in two neighborhoods this week.
The spraying of AquaDuet, which is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Aug. 11 and 12, will be the first time the agency has deployed truck-mounted application in neighborhoods since West Nile virus came to Orange County in 2004. However, it’s routinely applied by truck or hand in parks around the county.
Use of the pesticide generated outcry from some residents about proposed aerial spraying in 2015 over eight cities. The spraying was ultimately canceled.
Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control spokeswoman Mary-Joy Coburn said 46 mosquito samples in La Habra have tested positive for the virus this season, higher than at this time last year. Elsewhere in the county, mosquitoes carrying the virus have been found in 12 other cities but at much lower rates. In Garden Grove and Anaheim, the cities with the next highest levels, only three samples have tested positive.
By this time in 2016, mosquitoes had tested positive in 21 cities. Last October, a La Habra woman died after she was infected, marking the only fatality of the year.
This year, Orange County has seen only one human case so far, in a Laguna Beach resident who was asymptomatic.
“Aside from La Habra, it seems like a pretty low year so far but things could change at any moment,” Coburn said. “We’re just monitoring the entire county.”
On Wednesday, the agency will hold a meeting for residents to learn more about the spraying. The meeting is at 6 p.m. at La Habra City Hall, 110 E. La Habra Blvd.
“This is something that’s done very typically in our creeks and wetland areas,” said La Habra Councilman James Gomez, who is also a member of the vector control board. “This time we are going into some neighborhoods. All studies have shown this product, Duet, is safe. There’s a bigger danger of someone being bitten and contracting West Nile virus than the pesticide itself.”
The spraying will take place in two areas with about 3,500 properties between 3:30 and 5:30 a.m. The first area is slightly west of Beach Boulevard to east of Monte Vista Avenue and north of La Habra Boulevard to the city border. The second area is around Vista Grande Park and east of Cypress Street.
Residents have been mailed postcards notifying them of the spraying and Coburn said there’s no need to take any special precautions.