What you can learn from the people who protect you from disease-carrying pests

From The Orange County Register
October 25, 2017

A fly landing on salad. A roof rat scurrying across the yard. A flea hopping from your pet to your skin.

For a moment, forget West Nile virus mosquitoes. The disease these other bad boys spread also can destroy lives.

Then there’s our newest scary critter — the yellow fever mosquito that recently invaded Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange and other California counties.

Dig deep into the work of what’s called vector control and you feel lucky to come out alive.

Fortunately, experts strive to keep these sometimes deadly disease carriers under control so that most of us will live.

Yes, most of us.

According to a newly released report from the California Department of Public Health, Orange County has seen 28 West Nile virus deaths since the outbreak started in 2002, including one this year.

Also this year, San Bernardino County has reported two deaths; in Los Angeles County, 10 people have died; and in Riverside County, at least three people have been infected.

But did you know dozens of people in Southern California have been diagnosed with flea-borne typhus? Authorities also report it’s likely that many more people have been infected with typhus but are undiagnosed.

Pay attention now because what I discovered during a long and detailed conversation with Robert Cummings, Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District director of scientific technical service, is that there is much we can do to make our communities safer.

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