Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A James Burke style 'Connection'

Like John, I never would have made this connection.

There are 9672 homes for sale in California's mosquito-plagued Sacramento and Yolo counties. Around 1400 have swimming pools. Many of them are not being properly maintained while they sit on the market, and mosquitos are beginning to breed in their algae-infested waters like, well, flies. This is raising fears of a particularly virulent West Nile season.
Yikes! Mosquito and vector control staff in Sacramento and Yolo have sent a notification out to real estate agents requesting that when they show an unoccupied property that any unmaintained swimming pools, ponds, fountains and sprinkler systems be reported so that some action can be taken.
As the region's housing slump creates more vacant houses and a growing excess of homes in transition between buyers and sellers, Culex mosquitoes that can spread the West Nile virus to birds, other animals and humans are thriving in uncared-for swimming pools, garden ponds and yards flooded by broken sprinklers, said David Brown, manager of the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District.

"A 5-gallon bucket can literally produce a thousand mosquitoes a week," Brown said. "Multiply that by the surface of a pool and you see how many mosquitoes can affect an entire neighborhood. These mosquitoes can fly one to five miles."

So, the subprime mortgage lenders create a condition that prompts increased numbers of foreclosures, thus empty, unmaintained houses and an increased risk of a West Nile Virus outbreak is the result.

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