West Nile

Californians heighten precautions against West Nile virus

California residents are taking added precautions against the West Nile virus, following the state's first two deaths from the mosquito-borne illness. People haven't been making drastic lifestyle changes, but they are spraying pesticide around their homes, calling in the kids and dogs at dusk and replacing ratty old window screens. The Department of Health Services says West Nile has infected 79 people in the state, mostly in Southern California. Last year, there were only three cases statewide and no deaths. California public health officer Richard Jackson has warned of a significant West Nile season in California this year. So far it appears the warnings have caused concern but not much more. Park agencies throughout California have gotten phone calls with questions about the virus, but officials report no mass cancellations.