Governor Declares Emergency in Counties Hit by West Nile Virus
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Thursday declared a state of emergency in three California counties with the most cases of West Nile virus this year, the AP/Los Angeles Daily News reports (Burke, AP/Los Angeles Daily News, 8/2).
There have been 56 human cases of the virus confirmed in California this year from 13 counties (McNamara, Sacramento Bee, 8/3). The number of cases is three times the amount recorded at this time last year, according to the governor (AP/Los Angeles Daily News, 8/2).
Schwarzenegger's emergency declaration applies to Colusa, San Joaquin and Kern counties -- the only three counties this year that have reported West Nile-related deaths. Four residents have died so far.
The proclamation ordered the Department of Public Health to distribute:
- Up to $1 million to counties considered highly affected by the virus;
- $350,000 for increased surveillance of mosquitoes, birds and other animals to measure the severity of the virus; and
- $150,000 for early virus detection and prevention on state-owned properties (Sacramento Bee, 8/3).
Schwarzenegger said, "If the counties need more, then we will be giving them more money."
In declaring the emergency, the governor said, "We're seeing a rising danger." He added, "The important thing is that when you see an increase, you go all out and you fight it" (Hagedorn, Bakersfield Californian, 8/2).
Schwarzenegger also asked for continued mosquito research and for state agencies to work with real estate agents, mortgage brokers and lenders to monitor vacant houses that could have standing water where mosquitoes breed (Sacramento Bee, 8/3).
The declaration marks the first ever in California over concerns about West Nile virus, according to officials (Siders, Stockton Record, 8/3). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.