Foreclosed homes don’t just depress prices in their surrounding neighborhoods — they are a public health threat, according to officials in Contra Costa County east of San Francisco.

Homes in foreclosure are a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes that carry the deadly West Nile virus because the bugs inhabit swimming pools or other standing water on neglected properties.

Either homeowners are too busy dealing with their financial situation to maintain their properties, or in some cases the properties are abandoned, and “the swimming pool or spa is left to the mosquitoes where hundreds of thousands of them can be produced,” the county’s Mosquito & Vector Control District warns.

According to the district, nearly 10,000 homes in Contra Costa County are in some part of the foreclosure process, and nearly half are in areas that are at highest risk for West Nile virus.

There were eight known cases of West Nile virus last year in Contra Costa County, two of them fatal. Seven birds have tested positive for the virus so far this year.

Nearly one out of three swimming pools the district has inspected this year turned out to be breeding mosquitoes. The district is asking people to keep an eye out for standing water that can breed mosquitoes, and to drain pools that are not in use.

“Clearly the West Nile virus risk would be decreased drastically if every resident and business owner became a steward of their neighborhood and their community,” said Deborah Bass, a spokeswoman for the district. “With more than 420,000 households and businesses in the county, the District simply doesn’t have the workforce to go door to door and inspect every property.”

Show Comments Hide Comments

Comments

Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Success!
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Prepare for this fall with top agents & brokers at Connect Now this Tuesday.GET YOUR TICKET×
Limited time: Get 30 days of Inman Select for $5.SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription