New pesticide rules stoke West Nile fears in California

BURLINGAME — A new federal regulation that bans the use of mosquito-abatement pesticides near protected waterways is stoking fears of a severe West Nile season in California because of the unseasonably warm weather.

A federal order went into effect Nov. 1 governing the spraying of mosquito pesticides under the Clean Water Act.

The rule would bar seasonal fogging by vector control agencies near waterways deemed impaired by the federal government.

Officials say mosquitoes have risen early from their hibernation, and worry that a late rain could provide a West Nile breeding ground.

"We could definitely see an increase in the number of human cases of West Nile virus," Dr. Steve Schutz, scientific program manager of the Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control, said.

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