A mosquito (Aedes aegypti) was identified last week on the west side of the City of Madera that can carry tropical diseases, including yellow fever. Fogging crews targeted a nine-block radius last Saturday and Sunday to eradicate the insect. The mosquito was also found in Clovis traps.
This mosquito is not native to California but is a common mosquito in urban areas of the southeastern U.S.
The Madera County Mosquito and Vector Control District is working with the California Department of Public Health and the Madera County Department of Health to evaluate the extent of the infestation and will aggressively target problem areas to prevent its spread.
"Our goal is to eradicate this population," said Leonard Irby, the district's manager. "We definitely do not want this mosquito to become established in our communities."
District personnel went door-to-door in surrounding neighborhoods to undertake control measures including education, source reduction, larval control, and local ground-based adulticiding (fogging) as necessary to target adult mosquitoes.
Unlike the most common mosquito species in Madera, this tiny (approximately a quarter inch) distinctive black and white mosquito is a very aggressive day-biter. While they may be active around dusk and dawn, it is their day-biting habits that are most characteristic. Aedes aegypti is an efficient transmitter of dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya, and several viruses that cause encephalitis.
So far, none of the mosquitoes trapped in the Valley have been found to carry any of the tropical disease. Symptoms of yellow fever include severe headaches, body aches, and in severe cases, death. Residents experiencing mosquito bites during the day are urged to report them to the district.
"We need the public's help on this one," urged Irby. "Anything holding even the smallest amount of water must be overturned and stored upside down. Please survey your property and discard any unneeded containers, cans, buckets, and tires, or move them into the garage. This mosquito is even known to lay eggs in water-filled holes in asphalt and concrete."
Avoid mosquito bites
To avoid mosquito bites, wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, socks and shoes when mosquitoes are most active, especially at dusk and dawn. Apply repellents such as DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 only to exposed skin and/or clothing (as directed on label). Do not use repellents under clothing. In addition to repellent, you can use mosquito netting over infant carriers, cribs and strollers, and install or repair window and door screens.
The Madera County Mosquito & Vector Control District can be reached at (559) 662-8880 or at maderamosq.org