Menlo Park: After fogging, no mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus

Public forum to be held

After fogging 1,300 acres of Menlo Park with insecticide, the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District announced that none of the dead mosquitoes collected afterwards tested positive for West Nile virus.

The district decided to fog after two crows and mosquitoes were found to be carrying the virus in Menlo Park's 94025 zip code.

Trucks began spraying Zenivex at 9 p.m. Monday, Aug. 11, and wrapped up by 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday, district officials said.

The treated area was roughly bordered by University Drive to the north; Bay Laurel Drive to the east; Altschul Avenue and Sharon Road to the south; and Cam Al Lago to the west.

Dead mosquitoes were then collected from traps and tested. Since none were positive for the virus, no further foggings are scheduled for now.

Mosquitoes transmit the virus through biting. Although the primary hosts are birds, West Nile Virus also infects people, horses and other animals.

Standing pools of water should be drained to discourage mosquitoes from proliferating, and people should apply repellent while outside and make sure door screens fit tightly, the district advised.

An online petition asking the county to cancel the Aug. 11 fogging gathered 387 signatures and the attention of Menlo Park Mayor Ray Mueller, to no avail.

Mr. Mueller posted that he and county Supervisor Dave Pine had asked the fogging to be delayed for two days if it would not endanger public health to allow time for a public hearing, but the county denied the request.

A public forum will be held to address any concerns about the spraying, although a date and time have not yet been set, according to the district. A representative from Central Life Science, the company that makes Zenivex, will attend.

For more information, go to the district's website or call 344-8592.


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Posted by Dismayed
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 14, 2014 at 12:04 pm

It is dismaying to say the least that many residents of Menlo Park were not notified in advance of the spraying nor given the opportunity to close windows, put pets indoors, etc. Though it is obviously in the public interest to protect against West Nile, at the same time both the county and the city have an obligation to notify ALL affected residents in advance of any activities like this one.

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Posted by fools errand
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 14, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Let's rephrase this:

After killing numerous insects in addition to the targeted mosquitos indiscriminately, some of which were beneficial to our local environment, in the name of 4 cases of West Nile infection in all of California, there appears to be no evidence of this relatively benign disease in the area. Officials, perplexed, are now wondering why they were so worried about a virus where the vast majority of infections are completely asymptomatic and without any detectable consequence.

Officials are not scrambling to cover up the costs -- economic, environmental, and potentially health related.

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Posted by fools errand
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 14, 2014 at 12:12 pm


Unfortunately, it is not obviously in the public interest to protect against West Nile. For every action, there are costs and benefits. The benefit, if any, accrued here do not seem clearly justifiable.

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Posted by Beth
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 14, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Outrageous on all fronts. I found two dying honeybees on a back table.

The lack of public knowledge well ahead may be due to the responsible actions of other communities some years ago, like Santa Cruz, where residents protested, city council delayed the spraying, got the word out and buses transported those with serious conditions, elderly, newborns, etc. out of town for the night. I don't have detailed material, like bus payment, etc. I also don't know if the spraying concerned Santa Cruz proper or the entire county.

Since we pay and vote for county representatives, perhaps it's time to write them, news outlets, distribute pamphlets, etc. so this nor any other public action is undertaken without people's awareness, and reasonable input. I'd also like to know where the MP City Council (aside from Mayor & Mr. Pine) stands on this, person by person.

Probably, not possibly, they'll find more WN infected birds and mosquitoes down the road - after all, birds fly.

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Posted by SideEffects
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Aug 14, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Would the County Board of Supervisors please respond publically:
1. Why were residents not noticed on each front door of the chemicals, the date and time of the fogging?
2. Why were residents not given an opportunity to vacate, close doors and windows, keep pets inside, cover bird feeders & pet food dishes, etc.?
3. Why have residents not been made aware of how to "clean" chemicals off of areas such as outdoor tables, chairs, pet food eating areas, etc.?
4. Why were residents not made fully aware of the chemicals used with regard to known toxicity and side effects?
5. Why were residents not given an opportunity to protect themselves and their homes from the poison?
6. Of course a poison intended to blanket an entire 1300 acres and kill insects is also killing bees, birds, and the many beneficial insects as well as affecting humans, some extremely sensitive to toxins. Why?????
7. County vector officials have visited my residence three times in the last 8 months. Why could they not take the time to properly inform, warn and prepare residents for the drone dumping of poisonous chemicals indiscriminately?
8. Have any Supervisors & County Officials read "Silent Spring"? How can we be so ignorant after all these years of proven death and destruction by the use of such chemicals? Please tell us why.

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Posted by CalmDown
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 14, 2014 at 8:25 pm

Every commenter so-far obviously has no background in science and rather prefers to be reactionary. Before making foolish comments and creating an absurd list of "questions" no one asked for information about the specific chemical that was used. Do they really think that the Public Health Department would allow such activity if there was even the remotest chance that it could injure people or pets? Do any of you realize that this fogging material is active only against flying insects that are airborne at that moment and that it becomes totally inactive when it settles to the ground moments later? Do you know that it is so non-toxic that the technicians who spray it are not even required to wear masks but are trained and state-licensed to do so? How many insects besides this variety of mosquito are flying about in the night? Certainly not beneficial ones like bees. Get off your high horse and seek some scientific knowledge from experts before you go off on such an illogical tirade against a service that has saved lives on the peninsula and across America for generations now. Then get down on your knees and thank God for the progress science has made that has saved or protected you from dread mosquito-borne diseases like Malaria, Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever, West Nile Virus, etc, etc that were prevalent in the past and still are killing thousands in third-world countries. Every peninsula town has a representative on the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District Board of Trustees. Do you know who yours is? Have you contacted him or her to gain more information? Obviously not. Those who have done their homework would not write stupid posts such as all those above.

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Posted by Beth
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 14, 2014 at 8:52 pm

Are you referring to this one, posted on SM site? If not, would you please share your source of information?

Web Link

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Posted by Enuff
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 14, 2014 at 11:52 pm

It's much worse than most of imagined.
See this link: Web Link

The chemical they used is a neurotoxin and is carcinogenic, and it lingers for months. To quote the article linked above: "In 60 days there is still 25% left, in 90 days 12% is still present and even at 210 days there is still 3% present on the soil." "The truth of the matter is that the chance you are going to die from the West Nile Virus is extremely unlikely. Your health is put at a much higher risk of harm from mosquito fogging than it is from West Nile Virus."

CALMDOWN displays touching trustfulness in the pesticide industry, and governmental agencies like the poorly run San Mateo Vector District whose chief was recently booted out by the Board for hiring a convicted embezzler without vetting her, and she of course embezzled like crazy from our district.

By the way, there is a pending lawsuit in Santa Clara County over this insane, poisonous "fogging".
Menlo Park residents should let our City Council, our Supervisors, and the SM Vector Board hear our objections to having our properties sprayed with carcinogens and neurotoxins.

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Posted by CalmDown
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 15, 2014 at 10:15 am

Love comments like the one from CalmDown: "Every commenter so-far obviously has no background in science and rather prefers to be reactionary."

It's like the classic post one sees in comment threads akin to "Your [sic] an idiot" which reveals as much about the poster's own ignorance than the intelligence of the intended target of the post.

There's nothing to "calm down" about here. It's foolish paranoia to think that our environment is teeming with organisms on the cusp of killing off the fragile human species ... you know ... the one that is near 7 billion and growing and taxing this planet's resources even in "disease infested" areas like Africa. On top of that, we don't live in Africa. If and when our environment poses those threats, then by all means, take necessary measures.

You keep buying snake oil fella. The rest of us will trust more in the homeostasis of most biological and ecological systems in our relatively safe and "sterile" environment. And yes, I did contact our local Vector control officer. That's how I know that there have been 4 West Nile encephalitis infections in all of California. He cited that as a concern. I look at that and wonder if anybody making decisions knows the definition of a denominator.

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Posted by why?
a resident of another community
on Aug 15, 2014 at 12:56 pm

There's *always* more natural ways to deal with the environment. We are screwed by legal regulations and red tape we are stuck with, flaws and all. This is not just a knee jerk reaction, there's a ton of examples if one just adds it to their daily reading but you need to learn how to really use your web browser to research. It's not too hard, just dig more because result pages are ranked, use a variety of browsers & search engines:
Web Link

Why do we have to spray pesticides for such a low rate of incidents:
Web Link

Then if one reads up on the % of people infected becoming serious or fatal, you'll see how this is all a knee jerk reaction on the other side.

Seriously, I'd rather they "fog" hospitals for high rates of infection:
Web Link

Better yet, fog the trolls like "calmdown".

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle

on Jun 5, 2017 at 4:18 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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