Bakersfield and San Joaquin Valley residents need to be on the alert with the announcement last Wednesday that potentially deadly mosquitoes have been found in several locations. The Fresno County Department of Health announcement reported that aedes aegypti mosquitoes were found in metropolitan Fresno and Fowler last week.
The mosquitoes were also found in over 100 locations in Clovis in June, as well as in Madera and San Mateo County in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“Detection of this mosquito in additional communities is of great concern. The public’s help is needed to eradicate this mosquito population before it can become established,” said Tim Phillips, Manager of the Fresno Mosquito and Vector Control District. “Residents who experience mosquito bites during the day are asked to contact their mosquito abatement district right away.”
The mosquito is dark colored with white markings and known to carry yellow fever, dengue, and chikungunya, diseases most people associate with third world countries and/or the tropics. The insect is worrisome because, although it may be active at dusk and dawn - the times of day that many people associate with mosquito bites - it bites most often during the day and often bites indoors.
Although none of the mosquitoes found were carrying any of the diseases in question, health officials are concerned that if an infected person from an area where the diseases are prevalent is bitten, then residents in the Valley may be at risk for severe illness. Such infections may be introduced by people returning from business trips, vacations, or visitors who live in those areas.
To help reduce risks, residents should consider applying insect repellants, limiting outdoor activities during prime times for mosquito bites, and minimize or eliminate sources of standing water where eggs can be laid and hatched.
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