SAN FRANCISCO Bicyclists join West Nile fight
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
SAN FRANCISCO -- With images of giant mosquitoes emblazoned on their yellow vests, they looked more like crime-fighting superheroes than insect abaters.
A fleet of bicyclists descended upon San Francisco, armed with bike helmets, rubber gloves and the mosquito equivalent of kryptonite -- small pellets they dropped into mosquito havens around the city in an attempt to combat the spread of West Nile virus.
"I'm not afraid," said Jim Henning, who when he initially applied for the job thought it involved being a bike messenger for a pest-control company.
The effort came after San Francisco announced the city's first human case of West Nile virus. Health officials said they might never know whether the victim, a middle-age man whose identity was not made public, had contracted the illness in the city or elsewhere.
As cyclists zipped in and out of traffic depositing the potent pellets into curbside catch basins, targeting the standing-water spots where mosquitoes typically breed, health officials continued their message of public awareness.
"It's not as though you can walk down the street and catch it from another person," said Eileen Shields, spokeswoman for the city's Department of Public Health.