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County launches West Nile virus text message alert system

The San Diego County Department of Health on Thursday announced a text message system to alert residents when West Nile virus has been detected in their neighborhoods.

By texting PEST to 75309, residents can get messages sent to their cell phones with information about West Nile virus, including locations where birds or mosquitoes have tested positive as well as tips on how to prevent the disease, according to the DEH.

“The county has always tried to stay ahead of fast-changing technology and with these alerts, we will be able to help protect more people from this serious, sometimes deadly disease,” county Supervisor Greg Cox said.

In the future, the county also plans to use text messages to notify the community about other vector-borne diseases such as hantavirus and plague, according to the DEH.