Yellow fever mosquito found in Menlo Park

This undated handout photo provided by the Consortium for the Barcode of Life shows Aedes aegypti and albopictus, the world's worst vectors of arboviruses, which include yellow fever and dengue; Anopheles gambiae is the worlds' worst malaria vector. (AP Photo/Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit, Judith A. Stoffer)
August 24, 2013 2:35:23 PM PDT
San Mateo County officials are on alert after a type of mosquito that can carry dangerous diseases including yellow fever and dengue was found this week in Menlo Park.

The yellow fever mosquito, also known as Aedes aegypti, was found this week at Holy Cross cemetery in a residential area of Menlo Park, according to Robyn Thaw, a spokesperson for the San Mateo County Health System.

The mosquito, which is not native to California but is common in urban areas in the southeastern United States, can transmit diseases including yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya and viruses that cause encephalitis, officials said.

It has also been reported this summer in Fresno and Madera counties, but no diseases associated with it have been reported so far. County health and mosquito control officials said they are working to evaluate the extent of the infestation and target problem areas to prevent the mosquito from spreading.

"Our goal is to quickly eradicate this mosquito population," said Robert Gay, district manager of the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District. "We will do everything to help ensure this mosquito does not become established in our communities."

Aedes aegypti is a small black and white mosquito that bites most during the day.

It was previously found in the county near the San Francisco International Airport in 1979 but was successfully eradicated.

"It is important to note that the current risk of disease transmission from this mosquito is extremely low," said Scott Morrow, health officer for San Mateo County. "But we must make every effort to eradicate this mosquito and not allow it to establish itself here to prevent future disease transmission risk."

Residents should make sure to use insect repellants, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever possible, make sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting screens with no holes and eliminate all standing water from around the home. Mosquito netting should also be used over infant carriers, cribs and strollers.

Neglected swimming pools, which can provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes, should be reported at (650) 344-8592 or (408) 918-4770.

Residents who experience mosquito bites during the day should report them to the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District at (650) 344-8592 or the Santa Clara Vector District (408) 918-4770.


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