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Health, Science and Technology

Drought, warmer temps spell bad news for spread of West Nile Virus in California

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Flickr member Enrique Dans
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Warmer temperatures and the lingering drought in California could lead to increased levels of West Nile Virus, according to medical experts.

The California Department of Public Health said Wednesday that the state saw record virus activity in 2014.

Doctor Vicki Kramer runs the Vector-Borne Disease Program in the Department and said the Central Coast has been protected somewhat because of it's cooler temperatures. But, the drought and record warmth during the first few months of 2015 could make maters worse.

"With limited water sources, mosquitos and birds are seeking out those same sources and coming into closer contact than they would otherwise," said Kramer. "West Nile virus is maintained in nature in a bird-mosquito-bird cycle."

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Already this year, several California counties—including Alameda, Santa Clara, Los Angles and San Diego have reported West Nile virus activity, but to date, no human cases have been found.