An invasive mosquito that can carry yellow fever and other diseases has been detected in San Jacinto, one of 35 California cities where it has been located.
A resident in south San Jacinto brought an adult mosquito to the Riverside County Vector Control program staff last week. Because the mosquito appeared to be an Aedes aegypti mosquito, traps were set in the area and eight more adult mosquitoes and several larvae were collected. They were positively identified as Aedes aegypti Monday (10/26) by county staff and the California Department of Public Health.
Aedes aegypti is not native to California. The black-and-white mosquito prefers to feed on humans during the daytime and can transmit dengue and Chikungunya viruses. While there is no indication the viruses currently are transmitted by mosquitoes in California, there is potential for the viruses to be introduced by infected international travelers who return home, potentially to become sources for local transmission. In the age of global commerce, Aedes aegypti has been detected in 12 counties and over 35 cities statewide. View the California Department of Public Health map at: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/
The Aedes aegypti mosquito is different from native California mosquitoes. It lays eggs just above the water surface in small containers, such as flower pots, pet bowls, discarded tires and bird baths. Because these mosquitoes can breed in amounts of water as small as a bottle cap, residents are reminded to eliminate all standing water on their property. The species’ eggs can survive on surfaces even after water has been drained, so residents should drain all stagnant water and then scrub all items that contained the water.
The vector control staff will continue surveillance in areas surrounding the point where the mosquitoes were found. These efforts include door-to-door inspection of residential and commercial properties for mosquitoes and habitat. The City of San Jacinto contracts all vector control services with Riverside County, and the vector control staff will work closely with city officials on follow-up investigations.
Residents can reduce the chances of being bitten by Aedes aegypti or other mosquitoes by taking the following precautions:
• Protect against mosquito bites by using insect repellent. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535 according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age, and only in concentrations of 30 percent or less on older children. Lemon eucalyptus oil should not be used on children under age three.
• Be aware of peak mosquito hours. Dawn and dusk are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities planned for those hours.
• Choose clothes that can help reduce mosquito bites. Wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors to help keep mosquitoes away from skin.
• Mosquito-proof your home. Drain standing water, where mosquitos lay their eggs and drain and scrub items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty and scrub unused flowerpots and wading pools. Change water in birdbaths and pet bowls at least weekly.
• Keep mosquitoes outside with tight-fitting screens on all windows and doors.
Contact the Riverside County Vector Control program at (951) 766-9454 or your local vector-control district to report mosquito problems, request mosquito fish or report neglected pools or standing water as potential mosquito sources. Visit the department online http://www.rivcoeh.org/Programs/vector for more information.