Another brand of mosquito capable of transmitting several diseases including the Zika virus has been spotted in the San Fernando Valley.
The Aedes mosquito has been in Los Angeles County since 2011, but just recently has discovered in Pacoima right by the border of the City of San Fernando, according to Levy Sun, public information officer for the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District.
Besides Zika, other diseases or viruses the pest can inflict with it’s bite include yellow fever, dengue fever and chikungunya, which can cause high levels of joint and muscle pain that can restrict walking, Sun said.
Sun described the mosquitoes as being quarter-inch long with distinctive black and white stripes. “They will bite during the daytime, and they can also thrive in homes and office buildings,” he said.
He said controlling and eradicating the Aedes mosquito is different from those who carry the West Nile virus.
“[Aedes mosquitoes] will lay eggs individually on plants and containers where there is standing water,” Sun said. “And just dumping and draining the water no longer removes the eggs. They can stay alive for several years. They are the size of grains of sand and can be hard to distinguish from dirt.”
He added that plant cuttings in water-filled containers “are one of the most common sources of finding” this species of mosquito.
Fortunately the highly publicized Zika virus — which can mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain and fatigue that can last for two to seven days and severely affect unborn infants — so far has not been actively transmitted by mosquitoes here in California, Sun said. “People sick with Zika have brought it here from traveling abroad.”
But residents here and throughout Los Angeles County must continue to eliminate “breeding grounds” for disease-carrying mosquitoes, especially those carrying the West Nile and Zika viruses, to reduce the chance of becoming infected, Sun said.
Eliminate standing or stagnant water in barrels, clogged rain gutters, swimming pools, hot tubs and flower pots — any container that can hold water at least seven days.
• Make sure that doors and windows have tight fitting screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
• Wear light-colored, long, loose clothing, such as long sleeve shirts and pants when outdoors. Keep in mind that mosquitoes can bite through thin or tight clothes.
• Use mosquito netting when sleeping or camping outdoors.
• Stay indoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
• Apply approved insect repellent whenever you are outdoors, even for a short period of time. Choose a repellent based on duration of activity. Remember when you are sweating, physically active, or getting wet, some repellents may not last long.