Yellow fever mosquitos have been identified at 13 spots around Holy Cross Cemetery in Menlo Park this year, leading officials to ask the public for help controlling the spread of the population which can carry several viruses including dengue and yellow fever.
“Our goal is to eradicate this mosquito population,” Robert Gay of the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District said in a prepared statement. “We are doing everything to help ensure this mosquito does not become established in our communities.”
The Aedes aegypti mosquitoes were first detected Jan. 22 and the latest April 10. The mosquito species was found in the same area last summer too.
The species is not native to California but is common in urban areas of the southeastern United States.
No illnesses have been reported so far.
In response to the mosquito presence, the district expanded surveillance efforts including traps for adults and eggs in areas where they were found and door-to-door inspections of properties for breeding and standing water.
The mosquitoes are about a quarter-inch long and black and white. They bite most often during the day and can transmit viruses not currently found in California including dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya and several others that cause encephalitis.
This mosquito was previously found in San Mateo County in 1979 near San Francisco International Airport but successfully eradicated.
The district asks the public to avoid or reduce the chances of bites by taking the following precautions: apply insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535 and follow label instructions; make sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes and repair or replace screens with tears or holes; eliminate standing water and containers that can hold water from around the home; report neglected swimming pools to the district; wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when possible; and, use mosquito netting over infant carriers, cribs and strollers.
Report bites during the day to the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District at 344- 8592 and get more information at www.smcmad.org.