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Are you itching yet?

Are long as we have water, we'll have mosquitoes

That high pitched whining and mosquito bite itch that is common in the summertime can be more than an annoyance. Mosquitoes in California may carry diseases, including West Nile virus and several types of encephalitis.

The Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District has received two 2012 Communicator Awards for its work on communicating important information in a video called Mosquito Control Matters that it launched last June.

The video shows how the quality of life in California would be impacted without mosquito control.

"Emerging diseases are real and will always be a threat, just like West Nile virus was when it emerged in New York in 1999, and just like Dengue fever is, that recently emerged in Florida," it states.

California has 55 species of mosquitoes, which transmit diseases including heartworm. The first mosquito abatement district was formed in the state in 1915, and a large part of its work is educating residents on the dangers of standing water that could become mosquito breeding grounds.

In 1952, newspapers reported 813 human cases of encephalitis in the Central Valley.

"New viruses threaten us," notes the video. "As long as mosquitoes exist and as long as there is water, there will always be mosquito-borne diseases."

The Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District, an independent special district and public health agency, has been in operation for 85 years. Go to its website to learn more about its free services related to mosquitoes, skunks, rats, yellowjackets and ticks.

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