SAN DIEGO -- County vector control workers began spraying part of the Mount Hope neighborhood Tuesday in an effort to kill mosquitoes after an area resident tested positive for the Zika virus, but not everyone was happy about it.
Members of Occupy San Diego showed up with signs. They say residents were only notified on Saturday, and that the chemical being used has been known to cause cancer and other health side effects.
“Anyone can go to Home Depot and buy these pesticides and spray their own yard, that’s their choice but to do blanket spraying across people’s homes when they’re on vacation, when they’re out of town, when they’re not home, when they’re at work, it’s simply not fair and not right,” said Occupy San Diego member, Syd Stevens. Stevens says the group is organizing a meeting for residents with concerns: Tuesday, September 13th, 2016 at 630 pm at the Big Kitchen Cafe, 3003 Grape Street, San Diego, CA 92102.
The spraying was being done in an area bounded by F Street on the north, Market Street on the south, Raven Street on the east and Quail Street on the west.
According to the county, Aedes mosquitoes that can transmit Zika and other diseases were found after an area resident contracted Zika while visiting a country where mosquito-borne illnesses are prevalent.
"Travel to Zika-affected countries is common, and actions to prevent Zika from spreading to local Aedes mosquitoes are vital to inhibit locally acquired human cases of this disease,'' county Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten said.
County vector control crews use the pesticide Pyrenone 25-5 in an effort to kill adult mosquitoes.
“They’re actually just looking for the areas where the mosquitoes are likely to be located or questing or resting, and that’s where they’ll focus their applications at,” San Diego County Environmental Health's Rebecca LaFreniere.
Resident Brad Michels said he was concerned about the spray and its impact on his pets, organic garden and daughter.
"The offices were all closed for the holiday,'' he said. "A lot of people in the neighborhood are gone because of the holiday, and then they come back to find out that they're spraying and they don't know what to do or how to go about stopping it.''
"First of all, we’d want to understand why their refusal and try to explain if they had any questions," said San Diego County Environmental Health's Rebecca LaFreniere. "We’ve also shared the type of product information if they had questions. We also have medical staff available to also address concerns. If they still refuse, we do have the option of giving them an abatement warrant, a forcible warrant to treat their properties."
According to county officials, the pesticide poses low risks to people and pets, but residents in the area who want to minimize their exposure can take precautionary steps, including:
-- staying inside and bringing pets indoors if possible;
-- closing doors and windows;
-- turning off fans that bring outdoor air inside the home;
-- covering ornamental fish ponds to avoid direct exposure;
-- rinsing fruits and vegetables from gardens with water before cooking or eating;
-- wiping down or covering outdoor items such as toys; and
-- covering barbecue grills.
Report possible mosquito activity
Report if you are being bitten by mosquitoes during daylight hours, or if you find mosquitoes that match the description of Aedes mosquitoes by contacting the Vector Control Program at 858-694-2888.
For more information about mosquito-borne illnesses virus, go to San Diego County’s “Fight the Bite” website. The County has also released the public service announcement below to promote mosquito prevention.