Yellow fever in Orange County

Aedes aegypti mosquito or also known as the yellow fever mosquito is not native to California and can also carry other diseases including dengue and chikungunya. ( U.S. Department of Agriculture/ Creative Commons)

Aedes aegypti mosquito or also known as the yellow fever mosquito is not native to California and can also carry other diseases including dengue and chikungunya. ( U.S. Department of Agriculture/ Creative Commons)

Mosquitoes carrying yellow fever have been found in southern Orange County when Mosquito and Vector Control conducted a thorough investigation after complaints were made.

“We immediately mobilized district personnel upon the discovery of yellow fever mosquitoes at a Mission Viejo residence,” said Director of Technical Services Robert Cummings. “For several years OCMVCD has expanded surveillance efforts for this type of mosquito. We are conducting neighborhood inspections of properties for mosquito breeding and standing water in the surrounding area.”

Not new to Orange County, the yellow mosquito hasn’t been detected since last April and was first identified in California in June 2013. They are known for their black and white stripes, laying eggs in containers holding standing water and being able to survive in dry conditions for months.

“These invasive mosquitoes have been detected in California since 2013, when the this species was first discovered in Madera, Fresno and San Mateo counties,” said OCMVC Spokeswoman Mary-Joy Coburn. “Some have also been detected in Kern and San Diego counties and has expanded in regions of Los Angeles County.”

Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control sprays for mosquitos every year over the county, but had to call off the procedure this year because the airspace around Disneyland is restricted and they didn’t have a waiver signed to proceed.

“A complication arose in the operation regarding permissions to fly over restricted airspace around Disneyland,” said OCMVC. “The contractor was unable to secure the permission in time to conduct a full operation.”

West Nile Virus is a concern because when mosquitoes bite birds who carry this infection, they spread the virus to those they bite. Last year 280 people in Orange County were infected and nine people died. A total of 17 have been confirmed to be infected by the virus in San Diego this year and six of those were reported this past month.

“The discovery of West Nile virus positive mosquitoes collected in May is not unusual,” said OCMVC District Manager Michael Hearst. “However, following the unprecedented epidemic in 2014 the District is taking additional measures to suppress the virus at the earliest indication.”

Aedes aegypti mosquito or also known as the yellow fever mosquito is not native to California and can also carry other diseases including dengue and chikungunya. They primarily bite during the day both indoors and outdoors,biting aggressively. 

Female mosquitoes lay their eggs in small artificial containers including the dishes under potted plants, bird baths and ornamental fountains. They lay their eggs just above the water line, over a period of days. The eggs are resistant to dryness and can survive for periods of six or more months.

The District has about 100 mosquito traps placed all through the county to collect mosquitoes to see exactly how many are in the area, as well as to test them for possible diseases they could be carrying. The two different types of traps they use include carbon dioxide baited traps and gravid mosquito traps.

OCMVC asks you to remove any standing water around your house and make sure all window and door screens on your house are in good repair. They also suggest you wear repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or IR 3535. Contact the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District to report dead birds or neglected pools.

Photo used with a CC BY 2.0 license.

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