Local mosquito control officials announced on Sept. 2 that an invasive mosquito species was discovered in Elk Grove and Orangevale.
This is the first time that Aedes aegypti was detected in those communities, the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District reported. Such mosquitoes are known to aggressively bite humans throughout the day. Mosquito control officials remind residents to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in their yards.
“We are heading into the time of year when these mosquitoes are most active and we need your help to control them,” District Manager Gary Goodman said in a press statement.
The district staff warned that the new, invasive species could carry potentially lethal diseases such as chikungunya, dengue fever, and Zika.
In the United States, the majority of last year’s cases of those diseases were detected in people who traveled overseas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC reported that four travelers tested positive for Zika last year. Dengue, which is commonly present in the Caribbean, was reportedly detected in 332 cases in the United States in 2020. CDC staff also reported there were 29 chikungunya cases in the United States that year.
Luz Robles, a spokesperson for the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District, said there is the still the danger of an infected traveler who returns from abroad and then gets bitten by a mosquito.
“The real threat is that if I get sick over there and come back to my home in Elk Grove, and a mosquito bites me – that mosquito can transmit locally,” she said.
Robles said that Aedes aegypti was first detected in Southern California 10 years ago and the species has since been slowly moving their way northward in the state.
She mentioned that her agency’s staff recently discovered that species in Elk Grove after they set up mosquito traps in residential yards near Smedburg Park. They installed the traps after an employee visited friends in the neighborhood and noticed frequent mosquito bites.
The species typically lay eggs next to water containers such as indoor plant pots, buckets, birdbaths, children’s toys, and even bottle caps. Their eggs are also capable of surviving dry conditions for many months, Robles said.
Her staff asks residents to not only drain water containers on their properties, but also scrub them to make sure there are no leftover eggs. Residents are also advised to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors since the species tends to bite ankles, elbows, and wrists.
The mosquito control district reminds the public about those precautions every summer when the West Nile Virus is typically detected in mosquitoes and dead birds in Sacramento and Yolo counties. Mild West Nile cases can cause flulike symptoms in humans while rare cases can cause severe health problems. As of Sept. 3, there were 88 positive mosquito samples and 86 positive bird samples in Sacramento County, Robles said. Although there were no positive human cases to date in Sacramento County, one case was reported in Yolo County this week.
For more information on preventing mosquitoes from breeding on a property, visit the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District’s website, https://www.FightTheBite.net or call 1-800-429-1022.