By Ed Mertz

NEWPORT BEACH ( — Health officials across the Southland have begun to deploy trucks that spray a fog-like mist to combat the spread of West Nile virus.

KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reports the effort is aimed at supporting current operations where crews of one or two people from Orange County Vector Control have been spraying for mosquito larvae in pools of stagnant water.

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Vector control officials have recently started utilizing truck-mounted spraying in Big Canyon, Ladera Ranch, the UC Irvine marsh and the Bolsa Chica Wetlands.

The mist is targeting areas where high numbers of mosquitoes have been found carrying the West Nile virus.

The first human case of West Nile virus in Orange County this year was discovered Aug. 2 after an unidentified Anaheim man tested positive for the virus while donating blood.

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Centers For Disease Control officials have warned 2012 is already on track to became the worst outbreak of West Nile on record since the virus hit the U.S. in 1999.

In Riverside County, similar trucks will be used to spray in the southwest part of Beaumont on Wednesday night between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., according to Vector Control spokesman Doug Osborne, who sought to reassure residents of the safety of the spraying operations.

“The product that we’re using is not extremely harmful to humans,” said Osborne. “It’s a fog that kind of hangs in the air, and as soon as that fog dissipates, the product is no longer there.”

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Vector crews in Los Angeles County — which already conducts spraying on a regular basis by foot — could decide as early as Wednesday to carry out truck spraying in the Harbor Lake area this week.