A yellow fever mosquito which can carry several viruses included dengue fever was found at Holy Cross cemetery in Menlo Park, the California Department of Public Health confirmed Friday.
The mosquito, known as Aedes aegypti, is not native to California but is common in urban areas of the southeastern United States. This type of mosquito was found earlier this summer in the counties of Fresno and Madera; no illnesses associated with this mosquito have been reported so far.
The San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District is working closely with other agencies and plans to expand its surveillance and trapping efforts. The district also plans to have staff conduct door-to-door inspections of home and pass out educational materials.
San Mateo County Health System, the California Department of Public Health, and Santa Clara County Vector Control District to evaluate the extent of the infestation and aggressively target problem areas to prevent its spread.
“Our goal is to quickly eradicate this mosquito population.” said Robert Gay of the mosquito district in a prepared statement.
The mosquito species is about 7 inches, black and white and bites most often during the day. The mosquito can transmit dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya and several viruses that cause encephalitis. These viruses are not currently found in California.
This mosquito was previously found in San Mateo County in 1979 near San Francisco International Airport but was successfully eradicated.
Public health and mosquito prevention officials are asking the public to control the spread by eliminating standing water and reducing the chance of bites. Recommended precautions include:
• 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 mosquito district;
• Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants when possible;
• Use mosquito netting over infant carriers, cribs and strollers.
Residents experiencing mosquito bites during the day should report them to the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District at 344-8592 or the Santa Clara Vector Control District at (408) 918-4770.