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Blame it on the economy: neglected swimming pools are to blame for rise in human West Nile virus cases

Blaming it on the economy, local health experts from the Chicago area say the number of neglected swimming pools is on the rise, creating a haven for mosquitoes that can transmit West Nile virus.

"The number of desolate pools in Lake County has doubled in just a few years, said George Balis of Clarke Mosquito Control, whose company is contracted to perform aerial inspections locally for the Lake County Health Department and for the Southlake Mosquito Abatement District. Buffalo Grove also has seen an estimated twofold jump, said Brian Sheehan, deputy building commissioner and health officer for the village."

And, from a recent article in the New Scientist, "California has struggled with this issue from the early days of the foreclosure crisis. Neglected swimming pools were associated with a 276 percent increase in the number of human West Nile cases during the summer of 2007, according to a study published this past November in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. "

It's interesting to see how even economic fluctuations in a developed country can impact disease spread.

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