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Mosquito capable of carrying yellow fever in Valley

By | October 22, 2013 | News (2)

A mosquito known to carry yellow fever, dengue fever, and chikungunya disease was found in Fresno County on June 20 and the fight to eradicate them continues.

The yellow fever mosquito, or Aedes aegypti, is a small, dark mosquito with white lyre shaped markings and banded legs. This species of mosquito is native to Africa and South America, said Steve Mulligan, manager of the Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District.

“We are trying to spread awareness and we’re trying hard to eliminate it.” Mulligan said.

The mosquitoes contract yellow fever and dengue fever from infected humans then pass on the disease to people it bites Mulligan said.

He said there have been no local cases of yellow fever, dengue fever, or chikungunya.

Infestations are growing in the area and officials are urging residents to cooperate in the efforts to eradicate this foreign species. Officials are going door-to-door to inform people about the dangers of pools of water.

Residents are told to dump any still water, Mulligan said.

The female mosquito is able to lay her eggs in a teaspoon of water, he said. This mosquito is an aggressive species that bites during the day. This species is most active for two hours after sunrise and several hours before sunset.

He said the yellow fever mosquito stays in homes and likes to bite on humans.

The mosquito has been found in Fresno, Fowler, and Clovis.

Lisa Kao, the facilities manager on campus, said that plant operations works in partnership with the Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District.

The grounds department ensures that irrigation doesn’t create standing water. Kao said they take care of puddles, broken sprinklers, and fill any holes or ruts with sand.

The risk management department and the environmental health and safety department check for larvae in any standing water. If larvae are found, they bring it to the department and the Consolidated Mosquito Abatement’s attention, Kao said.

In August there were mosquitos on campus at the pastures. Kao said they were not yellow fever mosquitos. Facility operations called the abatement district, who sprayed the area for mosquitoes.

“The mosquito abatement district is really responsive” Kao said. “They do a good job at keeping the mosquitos away. We are fortunate to have their help.”

Kao said students should report any mosquito bites on campus to plant operations at 559-278-2373.

Mulligan recommended the following tips:

  • Check your yard weekly for water-filled containers.
  • Throw away or recycle water-holding containers that are not needed.
  • If empty containers or large objects, such as boats or old appliances must be stored, they should be covered, turned over or placed under a roof that does not allow them to fill with water.
  • Clean and scrub bird baths and pet-watering dishes weekly and dump the water from overflow dishes under potted plants and flower pots. Check that gutters are not holding water and cover rain barrels with tight screening so that mosquitoes cannot enter.
  • Fill tree holes and other cavities in plants with sand or soil.
  • Check for hidden bodies of water such as wells, septic tanks, manholes, clogged drains, etc.
  • Call the health authorities when you detect unusual numbers of mosquitoes.
  • Wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, socks and shoes when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Apply repellents such as DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 only to exposed skin and/or clothing (as directed on the product label). Do not use repellents under clothing.
  • Install or repair window and door screens to keep out mosquitoes.
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