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Invasive Mosquitoes Plunge Deeper Into California

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Two invasive species of mosquitoes that may carry Zika, dengue, yellow fever and different harmful viruses are spreading in California — and have been discovered as far north as Sacramento and Placer counties.

There are actually 16 counties the place Aedes aegypti, generally referred to as the yellow fever mosquito, has been detected, in line with the state Department of Public Health. Five of these counties have additionally detected Aedes albopictus, the Asian tiger mosquito.

These mosquitoes, distinguished from different species as a result of they primarily sip human blood in the course of the day as an alternative of at night time, can unfold the Zika virus, which contaminated greater than 1 million individuals throughout an epidemic that started in 2015 in Brazil. The virus can also unfold throughout intercourse.

More than 3,000 infants had been born with microcephaly in Brazil in the course of the epidemic. Microcephaly is a situation by which a child’s head is way smaller than anticipated, and might happen as a result of the child’s mind has not developed correctly.

In California, these invasive mosquitoes had been detected in 2011 in Los Angeles County, and since have unfold northward into the Central Valley.

Although the invasive mosquitoes now inhabit a big swath of the state, authorities have recorded no instances of “local transmission” of the damaging viruses, which suggests there’s no proof these Aedes mosquitoes in California are carriers. The California residents who’ve fallen unwell with the damaging viruses grew to become contaminated throughout worldwide journey to areas the place the viruses are endemic.

But the potential for in-state transmission stays.

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“We do have people in California traveling abroad and bringing back those viruses every year, and now that the mosquito is spreading across the state, the risk has increased, but it’s still very low,” mentioned Jeremy Wittie, president of the Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California.

The variety of reported travel-associated instances of Zika has dropped from 509 in 2015 and 2016 mixed to 25 thus far this 12 months, in line with the California Department of Public Health.

Public well being officers work with individuals who had been contaminated abroad to attenuate the chance that they are going to unfold the virus within the state.

While state and native vector management companies preserve a detailed eye on these species of Aedes mosquitoes, their greatest considerations are nonetheless West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis, that are unfold by totally different species of mosquitoes, extra frequent in California. This 12 months, there have been 89 human instances of West Nile virus reported in 15 counties, together with two deaths, the department said.

Vector management officers additionally stress the necessity for public consciousness about how Californians can defend themselves and forestall mosquitoes from proliferating. “It’s simple for people to make a few changes to their lifestyle that would limit the spread of these mosquitoes,” Wittie mentioned.

Wittie recommends individuals verify their properties weekly and drain any standing water to restrict the locations the place mosquitoes can reproduce.

Though these mosquitoes can journey solely quick distances on their very own, they are often transported by way of worldwide and native commerce, and even in a automotive. They thrive in city and residential areas, in contrast to different species, as a result of their eggs can survive in dry circumstances for months and require only a tiny quantity of standing water to hatch.

“These mosquitoes are adept at living in tight spaces with humans,” Wittie mentioned.

Use Our Content This story could be republished totally free (details).

This KHN story first printed on California Healthline, a service of the California Health Care Foundation.

Harriet Blair Rowan: hrowan@kff.org”>hrowan@kff.org, @HattieRowan

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