Mosquito & Vector News

West Nile virus activity intensifies across Sacramento Valley

From the Daily Democrat
July 17, 2018

Elk Grove >> The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District continues to closely monitor areas throughout Sacramento County where West Nile virus activity has intensified over the last few weeks.

District officials reported that in Sacramento County, 95 mosquito samples and 49 dead birds have tested positive for West Nile virus to date and that Yolo County had four mosquito samples and four dead birds reported.

As a result, spraying for mosquitoes has been increased slightly. Areas of concern include Elk Grove as well as the Pocket and neighborhoods south of Fruitridge Road in Sacramento.

“We are seeing high levels of West Nile virus activity, we are very concerned and are evaluating aerial spraying,” said Gary Goodman district manager. Lab results received today showed an increase to the already widespread activity. In response to the ongoing West Nile virus activity, the District has intensified ground mosquito control treatments.

Field staff are working extended hours to inspect and treat many area parks, trails, creeks, drainage canals and other riparian corridors where mosquito populations are high.

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First West Nile Positive Mosquitoes Found – Panorama City

From SCVNews.com
July 16, 2018

The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District confirmed West Nile virus in a sample of mosquitoes collected from Panorama City (zip code 91402), the first confirmation of WNV activity in the district’s service area this year.

While this is only the first confirmation, it should serve as a strong reminder that mosquitoes throughout much of Los Angeles County are active, may be carrying West Nile virus, and can infect people if they bite.

Last year alone, the District collected 394 samples of mosquitoes confirmed positive for WNV.

“We find West Nile Virus widespread throughout the southland every year,” said Susanne Kluh, director of scientific technical services. “This is an annual risk and one residents must be aware of and take actions to prevent. We can’t do this alone.”

Many mosquito repellents are available to prevent bites, but they do not all work equally well. The Centers for Disease Control recommend products with the active ingredients DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus as being safe and effective against mosquitoes that can transmit disease when used according to the labels. Wearing loose-fitting long sleeves and pants can also help deter bites.

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Researchers to target mosquito egg production to curtail disease

From Phys.org
July 14, 2018

Entomologists at the University of California, Riverside have received a five-year grant of $2.44 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, or NIAID, to investigate the role hormones play in the female mosquito’s ability to use human blood for egg production. 

Vector mosquitoes need vertebrate blood to develop each batch of their eggs. As a result, reproduction in female mosquitoes is closely linked to blood feeding. The NIAID funding—a competitive National Institutes of Health grant renewal—will allow the entomologists to introduce novel research tools for genetic manipulation, such as CRISPR, in their exploration of the genetic basis for the hormonal control of mosquito reproduction. 

“A clear understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating egg development in mosquitoes can play a critical role in our coming up with innovative and novel vector control methods,” said Alexander Raikhel, a distinguished professor of entomology who will lead the project along with Sourav Roy, an assistant professional researcher who received his doctorate at UCR and joined the Raikhel lab in 2011. 

The research project, titled “Molecular Basis of Ecdysteroid Action in the Mosquito,” is expected to help Raikhel, Roy, and others in Raikhel’s lab identify targets that can block the reproduction of female mosquitoes, thereby resulting in significant declines in mosquito populations and the dangerous diseases they transmit. 

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Garlic? Bananas? Citronella? Debunking mosquito repellent myths

From ABC10
July 13, 2018

As West Nile Virus activity surges in Sacramento County, it’s more important than ever to use mosquito repellent.

But which one should you use? It turns out, there’s a lot of myths around ways to repel the biting pests.

“A lot of people think that if you eat a lot of garlic, if you eat a lot of bananas, if you maybe put a bounce sheet in your pocket, that all of those things will keep mosquitoes away,” Luz Maria Robles with the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District explained.

So, do they work? Sorry, but according to Robles, no.

Another common remedy is citronella — an herbal oil found in lemongrass. Citronella candles are advertised as a natural alternative to repellents like DEET. But, although it’s natural, it doesn’t really work. A study in the Journal of Insect Science found it has no affect at all on banishing the bugs.

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MOSQUITO CONTROL: WEST NILE VIRUS DETECTED, ACTIVE IN BUTTE COUNTY

From Action News Now
July 12, 2018

Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control announced Thursday that several mosquitos in Butte County are plagued with West Nile and the virus is now active in Butte County.

Groups of positive mosquitoes, known as a “mosquito pool,” collected in the areas of Honcut, Palermo, and Dayton have tested positive with the West Nile virus.

With increasing mosquito populations and the detection of West Nile virus within Butte County, the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District urges residents to take all precautions necessary to drain any and all unneeded standing water, report any suspected mosquito-breeding sites and protect themselves from the bites of mosquitoes.

This is the first positive indicator of West Nile Virus in the county for 2018. West Nile Virus is active throughout the State of California.

“It’s imperative that county residents be aware that West Nile Virus is active and to avoid mosquito bites by whatever means necessary,” said Matthew Ball, District Manager for the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District. “Residents are urged to do their part to prevent mosquitoes from breeding by inspecting and eliminating all standing water from their properties.”

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Avoid mosquito bites by following these helpful tips

From the Visalia Times Delta
July 12, 2018

Delta Vector Control District officials recently found St. Louis Encephalitis and West Nile Virus in mosquitoes locally.

Tulare County Health and Human Services and Delta Vector staff are asking residents to avoid mosquito bites. 

“It is imperative that residents take the necessary precautions to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes and report any incidence of mosquito presence,” health officials stated.

Residents should be on the lookout for any “potential breeding grounds” around their home. Any container with as little as a few inches of water standing for more than three days makes for a good mosquito breeding source, health officials said.

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More West Nile positive mosquitoes found in Indian Wells

From KESQ
July 12, 2018

More mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus have been found in Indian Wells, the same city where local officials found 2018’s first positive detections of the virus among all Coachella Valley cities, the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District said today.   

The most recent detections were discovered in a trap near Fairway Drive and Cook Street, the same area where 2018’s first infected mosquitoes in the Coachella Valley were found last month.

Along with positive samples discovered in Palm Desert, eight positive samples total have been found in the Coachella Valley this year.   

Though vector control officials have increased trapping and surveillance in those cities, the desert was seeing a far higher rate of the virus last year, with 60 positive samples discovered by this time in 2017, 
according to CVMVCD.

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Vigilance urged as Sacramento region leads state in West Nile virus activity

From the Sacramento Bee
July 12, 2018

West Nile virus activity is surging in Sacramento County, with the region now leading the state, officials say.

There is also greater and more localized activity this year compared to last year, said Luz Robles, public information officer for the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District.

“Residents need to be vigilant, especially as we enter the hottest of the hottest weeks of the year,” Robles said, explaining that heat advances the life cycles of mosquitoes.

West Nile virus activity is defined by the number of dead birds and mosquito samples testing positive for the virus, Robles said. Sentinel chickens and horses testing positive would also be taken into consideration, but there have not been cases of either in California so far this year.

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Mosquito spraying scheduled in rural Delta

From Recordnet.com
July 11, 2018

STOCKTON — The San Joaquin County Mosquito & Vector Control District will conduct aerial spraying with Trumpet EC today between 8:20 p.m. and 11 p.m., depending on weather, in areas of the rural Delta near the Shima, Wright and Rindge tracts, as well as in portions of the Canal Ranch, Brack and Terminous tracts. For more information, or to view maps of the spray areas, go to sjmosquito.org.

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Landmark Mosquito Trial Decimates Dengue, Zika-Carrying Population

From The Epoch Times
July 10, 2018

A landmark experiment in north Queensland could hold the key to combating the spread of mosquito-borne diseases including dengue and Zika.

Australian scientists managed to wipe out more than 80 per cent of the Aedes aegypti (yellow fever mosquito) population near Innisfail, a sugar town in tropical far north Queensland, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) announced on July 10.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is responsible for infecting millions of people worldwide with diseases such as dengue, Zika, yellow fever, and chikungunya.

Last summer, CSIRO researchers introduced three million sterile male Aedes aegypti in three small towns in the Innisfail region. The local female mosquitos they mated with laid sterile eggs, causing the population to plummet.

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O.C. Officials Warn of West Nile Virus as 1st Infected Mosquito Sample Is Found in Garden Grove

From KTLA
June 9, 2018

The first mosquito sample testing positive for West Nile Virus this year was confirmed by the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District to be found in Garden Grove, the agency said in a news release Monday.

The sample was collected from mosquitoes found near Garden Grove Boulevard and Newhope Street on July 3, officials said. So far, however, no birds or humans in the county have been infected with the virus this year.

The virus is usually transmitted to humans and other animals through mosquitoes, who often contract the illness from birds that feed on them, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Since 2003, the virus has infected more than 6,500 people in California and killed 292, state health officials said.

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Vector Control Needs You: How Pasadenans Can Help Fight Mosquito-Borne Diseases Here in the San Gabriel Valley

From Pasadena Now
July 9, 2018

Officials want to enlist Pasadena residents in their unending war on mosquitoes and the dangerous diseases they spread.

As the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District takes over responsibility for Pasadena this week, it’s reminding residents that the agency cannot defeat this determined enemy alone.

“While we’re out there, we’re doing our part, but we definitely want to stress that mosquito control is a shared responsibility and everyone should do their part,” said SGV Mosquito & Vector Control spokesman Levy Sun. “Once you do that, we can have a more bite-free Pasadena.

Vector control officials will be aggressively trapping and testing mosquitoes, inspecting and treating storm drains and otherwise taking the fight to the mosquitoes.

Sun says just a bottle cap full of water is enough for mosquitoes to breed in.

More than just pesky — especially to those with particularly delicious blood — mosquitoes carry diseases such as West Nile virus and Zika.

Pasadena has seen no reported cases of West Nile virus or Zika virus this season, according to Sun.

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What happened to Zika?

From PBS News Hour
July 6, 2018

Last week, biologists reported the most detailed structure of the Zika virus to date, a finding that could help the effort to develop vaccines or anti-viral medicines. And Monday, a nationwide group of researchers reported in Nature Medicine that Zika causes miscarriages and stillbirths in a quarter of pregnancies in non-human primates.

The urgency to fight Zika reached a fever pitch two summers ago when a massive outbreak struck South and Central America and the Caribbean causing more than half a million suspected cases and more than 3,700 congenital birth defects. Some scientists suspect a mutation in the virusmade the disease more harmful and triggered the epidemic. It also landed in an ideal climate, where tropical mosquitoes — namely of the Aedes family — helped propel Zika to such large numbers.

But then last summer, the virus declined sharply in its hotspots and all but disappeared in the U.S. In 2016, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa saw more than 36,000 cases of locally transmitted Zika virus. By 2017, the number had dropped to 665. In 2017, the continental U.S. saw only seven cases of local mosquito-borne Zika, down from 224 the previous year.

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Your dog’s flea meds might one day protect you from Zika

From Science Magazine
July 5, 2018

Each year, thousands of people suffer from malaria, the Zika virus, and other diseases transmitted by pests such as mosquitoes. However, humans may soon be in the clear, thanks to the drugs used to protect man’s best friend from fleas and ticks. In a new study, researchers found that fluralaner and afoxolaner, sold as Bravecto and Nexgard, respectively, effectively killed infectious mosquitoes and sand fleas when they consumed human blood laced with the compounds, according to Time. Through computer modeling, these researchers also found that if enough people took the drug, 97% of infections could be prevented in Zika-prone areas, and 70% of new malaria cases could be prevented in countries that experience seasonal malaria, they reported this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. To test these findings, researchers are already planning clinical trials in healthy human volunteers. 

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Mosquitoes that can carry West Nile test positive for St. Louis Encephalitis in Fresno

From The Fresno Bee
July 5, 2018

Mosquitoes trapped in Fresno have tested positive for St. Louis Encephalitis.

Fresno County health officials said Thursday the infected mosquitoes were in the areas of East Floradora Avenue and Highway 41, plus Shields and Van Ness avenues.

The Culex mosquitoes that carry St. Louis Encephalitis are also capable of infecting people with West Nile virus. There is no vaccine for humans who are infected with either virus.

Most people infected with West Nile and Saint Louis Encephalitis have no symptoms, however, the viruses can affect the central nervous system. One in five people may develop a fever along with other symptoms, and severe neurological effects can occur and may be permanent. The infections can be fatal..

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St Louis Encephalitis detected in mosquitoes in Mecca

From KESQ
July 5, 2018

Mosquitoes in Mecca tested positive for St. Louis encephalitis, the first detection of the virus in the Coachella Valley this year, local vector control officials reported today.

The mosquitoes were recently found in three traps near the intersections of Johnson Street and Avenue 70 and Colfax Street and Avenue 71, according to the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.

The discovery follows five recent detections of West Nile virus in mosquitoes found in Palm Desert and Indian Wells, which led to increased mosquito spraying and trapping in those cities.

District officials warned residents to watch out during the early morning and evening hours, when mosquitoes are most active. 

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PRESS RELEASE: FIRST SIGNS OF INCREASED WEST NILE VIRUS ACTIVITY IN PLACER COUNTY ON EVE OF HOLIDAY

From Placer MVCD
July 3, 2018

Public health officials urge repellent use during Independence Day celebrations

ROSEVILLE, Calif., July 3, 2018 – The Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District reported today that a mosquito sample has tested positive for West Nile virus this week.  The sample was collected from a site along the county’s western border.  Mosquito numbers have also increased in the past week, most likely from sustained higher temperatures.  District staff have been aggressively treating immature mosquito populations out in the agricultural areas to the west, in an effort to stem the development of adult mosquitoes.  “This kind of mosquito and West Nile virus activity is not unusual for this time of year. Mosquito abundance is not the only thing that is impacted with warmer weather. West Nile virus activity in birds and mosquitoes also tends to increase with higher temperatures,” states Joel Buettner, District general manager. According to Buettner, treatment activities have not been scheduled, but will likely happen later on in the week. He encourages those who are interested in receiving updates to sign up for email notices through the District website or follow the District social media accounts for treatment updates.

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West Nile virus activity on the rise

From the Daily Democrat
July 3, 2018

The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District confirmed that West Nile virus activity is increasing as 10 new mosquito samples and 10 dead birds have tested positive for the disease in areas throughout the region, including Yolo County.

“The hot temperatures of the last few days have increased mosquito populations and we’re starting to see widespread activity,” said Gary Goodman, district manager.

Thus far, stated Goodman, there have been 32 mosquito samples and 21 dead birds testing positive for West Nile virus to date.

In Yolo County, two dead birds have tested positive for West Nile virus to date.

The increase in West Nile virus activity comes at a time when many will be enjoying the outdoor activities for the 4th of July holiday and the District reminds the public to take protective measures against mosquitoes.

“Many will be participating in family BBQ’s and watching fireworks around dusk, a time when mosquitoes are looking to bite,” stated Goodman. “We urge everyone to wear an effective repellent to protect themselves from mosquito bites. All it takes is one bite from an infected mosquito to get the virus” indicated Goodman.

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Aquatic allies in the fight against mosquitoes

From the Tracy Press
July 3, 2018

Free mosquitofish were recently distributed to Tracy residents to cut down on mosquitoes breeding in backyard ponds, pools and other manmade water features.

Technicians from the San Joaquin County Mosquito & Vector Control District handed out the fish Friday from a tank on a pickup truck at the Tracy Community Center.

They had spent the week traveling to different communities around the county and handing out the guppylike fish, which can be placed in ornamental ponds, neglected swimming pools, water troughs and other areas of standing water.

The fish eat the larvae and pupae of mosquitoes to help keep the adult mosquito population down.

They were given out in plastic containers, with the number of fish depending on the size of the pond or pool. A small pond might require only a dozen mosquitofish, while a large neglected pool might need 30 or more.

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How a Drug For Pets May Help Prevent Zika and Malaria

From TIME
July 2, 2018

Diseases spread by pests like mosquitoes and fleas remain global health problems. To prevent transmission, public health strategy has largely focused on using insecticides or bed nets. Vaccines are also under development for diseases like Zika, but few are approved for use. Now, a new study suggests that medicines already used for pets to protect against fleas and ticks could offer similar protection for humans.

In the report, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at the nonprofit drug discovery institute Calibr and TropIQ Health Sciences report that drugs called isoxazolines, which are currently sold as veterinary products like fluralaner (Bravecto) and afoxolaner (NexGard), might also work in humans to kill off pests like mosquitoes that spread diseases like Zika and malaria.

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School custodians receive training to stop mosquito breeding

From KESQ
June 29, 2018

Palm Springs Unified School District custodians received special training by the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District to help them spot and identify dangerous mosquitoes and the areas where they might breed.

“A lot of the mosquito control can be done by people themselves whether it’s maintenance or custodial workers or just people in their own backyard,” said Jill Oviatt, public information officer for the CVMVCD.

Experts say the main thing to look for in stopping the spread of mosquitoes is stagnant water. 

“This is where mosquitoes lay their eggs, breed into adult mosquitoes who can then bite you and potentially give you a deadly virus,” Oviatt said.

The custodians spent the day learning to identify and report these mosquito hot spots.

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Water, pools the biggest source of West Nile mosquitoes

From KGET
June 28, 2018

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Mosquito season is in full swing. Experts at Mosquito and Vector Control say they’re trapping more mosquitoes this year compared to last.

“Swimming pools have turned into the biggest source and problem we have in urban areas,” said Gene Abbott, the district manager at Kern Mosquito and Vector Control.

Vector Control monitors and eradicates mosquito breeding from bodies of water around the county–for free. They say mosquitos only need one teaspoon of water to breed.

“It’ll breed in anything from a saucer of water to an open septic tank. they’re really not picky about the quality of water,” Abbott said.

More importantly than the itch mosquitoes cause, Kern Public Health says the Culex mosquito, which carries the West Nile Virus, is quite common locally.

According to Public Health, Kern County had 30 cases of West Nile Virus in 2017, with one death. They say there have been two cases so far in 2018.

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California reports 5 additional human West Nile virus cases

From Outbreak News Today
June 27, 2018

The California Department of Public Health reported five additional human West Nile virus (WNV) cases in the past week, bringing the total in 2018 to nine in six counties to date.

The new cases were reported from Fresno (1), Kern (1), Los Angeles (1), Sacramento (1), and San Bernardino (1) counties.

In 2017, California reported 553 human WNV cases, including 44 fatalities.

Los Angeles County reports 1st human West Nile virus case of 2018

West Nile virus can be transmitted to humans, horses and other animals by infected mosquitoes after the mosquitoes have bitten infected birds, which are the primary hosts of the virus.

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South Pasadena Joins Regional Vector Control District

From The South Pasadenan
June 27, 2018

South Pasadena will join the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District (SGVMVCD) beginning July 1.

Residents can expect a higher level of service on mosquito-related concerns, along with the benefits of aligning with a regional system, said City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe.

“I’m very pleased to begin this partnership,” DeWolfe said. “The District performs a vital service to maintain the quality of life and public health in the communities it serves.”

With the addition of South Pasadena, the District now covers 26 cities in the region. It provides surveillance, inspection, treatment and education for mosquitoes and black flies.

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The most detailed image of the Zika virus ever captured might reveal a way to fight the birth-defect causing disease

From Business Insider
June 27, 2018

Zika doesn’t dominate headlines the way it did when it suddenly became widespread in the Americas in 2016.

But the virus is still a serious problem. If a pregnant woman is infected, Zika virus can cause babies to be born with neurological damage and microcephaly (a particularly small head and underdeveloped brain).

The CDC still says that pregnant women, their partners, and people considering pregnancy should postpone travel to large parts of the Caribbean and Latin America.

Researchers are desperately searching for a way to fight the virus. That effort requires a better understanding of the structure of Zika, which would makes it easier to design vaccines or anti-viral drugs.

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Vector Control expands outreach after mosquitoes test positive for West Nile Virus

From KESQ
June 27, 2018

It’s ‘National Mosquito Awareness Week’ and after mosquitos tested positive for West Nile Virus in parts of the valley this month, Coachella Valley Vector Control is expanding its outreach hoping to raise awareness to people and visitors in the affected areas.

Vector control’s public information officer Jill Oviatt is going to hotels and Homeowner Associations in Palm Desert and Indian Wells dropping off several items including mosquitos swatters, repellents, and wipes. Oviatt is also reminding those people to protect themselves from mosquitos.

It’s a message vector control spreads year round, but the organization is being even more proactive about it after several mosquitos tested positive for WNV.

“Suddenly we saw it in Indian Wells and Palm Desert which is very rare. But after doing our truck mounted operations, we’re seeing a drop in the mosquito population and no more virus activity at this time, but it could pop up here or somewhere else in the valley,” Oviatt said.

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West Nile Virus season has begun: 8 birds have tested positive in Sac County

From The Sacramento Bee
June 25, 2018

In what is being called a slow start to the annual West Nile Virus season, officials said 27 birds have tested positive for the sometimes deadly virus in California so far this year, eight of them in Sacramento County.

“There have been other years, like 2014 or 2016, where we’ve seen a lot more activity,” said Luz Robles, the public information officer for the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District.

No human cases of the sometimes deadly virus been reported in the region this year. Just four cases have been confirmed elsewhere – in Los Angeles, Kern and Riverside counties – by the California Department of Public Health.

But officials are still urging people to be proactive in eliminating mosquito breeding grounds and protecting themselves.

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Local residents prep against West Nile mosquitoes

From KESQ
June 24, 2018

PALM DESERT, Calif. – Local residents in Palm Desert are guarding themselves against some pesky mosquitoes. It comes after West Nile was detected in mosquitoes trapped in one neighborhood last week.

“I don’t them. I don’t like them at all,” Jeffrey McCartney said.

That’s how he feels about seeing these pesky mosquitoes. McCartney’s taking even more precautions than usual after some mosquitoes carrying West Nile was detected in his neighborhood.

“Them being right on this street is very concerning,” he said.

The Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District (CVMVCD) says it’s the second city to have West Nile detected this month. Indian Wells was the first. McCartney has already taken steps eliminating standing water where mosquitoes breed.

“Our watering is a drip system so it doesn’t leave any big puddles and as you can see in the front of the yard, is a desert plan,” he said.

The CVMVCD plans to spray the area for mosquitoes as shown in this sign posted on Portola avenue.

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San Joaquin County MVCD Annual Mosquito-Fish Giveaway

From San Joaquin County MVCD
June 22, 2018

June 25 through June 29, 2018

(STOCKTON, CA) – San Joaquin County Mosquito and Vector Control District (District) will be distributing mosquito-fish free to residents of all cities and surrounding rural areas within San Joaquin County. “Each resident will receive up to 15 fish depending on the size of the area where fish will be placed. The District will provide a fish carry container, informational brochures, and a small bag of fish food,” said Aaron Devencenzi, Public Information Officer with the District.

Mosquitofish facts: 1) Mosquitofish live two to three years. 2) Females give birth to about 50 young every six weeks from spring to fall. 3) They are capable of consuming 100-500 mosquito larvae per day. 4) They require minimal care, just an occasional feeding each week and a little more food in the winter. 5) Ideal places to use mosquitofish to prevent mosquito development are ornamental ponds, animal water troughs, water features, and neglected swimming pools. For more information go to www.sjmosquito.org.

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Using Drones And Ditties To Help Hunt Down Disease-Bearing Mosquitoes

From California Healthline
June 22, 2018

As residents of California’s Coachella Valley escape the blazing heat this summer in air-conditioned living rooms, movie theaters and cars, many will hear this upbeat but cheesy refrain:

Dump it! Drain it! Scrub it clean! Your weekly mosquito prevention routine.”

These commercials feature local mosquito-control officials grinning goofily at the camera while they follow the jingle’s instructions to eliminate pools of water that harbor insects they are branding as “bloodthirsty killers.”

Nationwide, diseases spread by ticks, fleas and mosquitoes have tripled since 2004. In California, last summer brought the deadliest West Nile virus season in 15 years.

Authorities in the Coachella Valley and other regions of the state are trying to drive home the message that mosquitoes are a serious and growing threat to residents’ health. Using jingles, disaster drills and even drones, they are spreading the word and preparing for outbreaks.

Jill Oviatt, a spokeswoman for the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District, calls the ad campaign an attempt to “brainwash” residents and force them to rethink mosquitoes as more than buzzing, irritating, itch-making pests. With climate change and the spread of diseases across international boundaries, they pose a lethal threat.

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Why some people get more mosquito bites than others

From KCRA 3
June 22, 2018

It’s true. Mosquitoes like some people more than others.

The annoying insect also loves to breed in California. The state is home to the most mosquito-transmitted diseases in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

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Around 50 mosquito species are attracted to the state’s hot summers and mild winters, as well as agricultural areas like rice fields and stagnant pools in urban areas. Not to mention California is the most populated state in the nation.

During peak summer temperatures, mosquitoes can grow from an egg into an adult in less than a week.

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California Aedes mosquitoes capable of spreading Zika

From EurekAlert!
June 21, 2018

Over the last five years, Zika virus has emerged as a significant global human health threat following outbreaks in South and Central America. Now, researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseaseshave shown that invasive mosquitoes in California — where cases of Zika in travelers have been a regular occurrence in recent years — are capable of transmitting Zika.

Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-transmitted flavivirus that has been known for more than a half century, but recently gained attention after it began spreading through South America and was confirmed as a cause of Guillain-Barre syndrome and congenital Zika syndrome in infants. Several species of Aedes mosquitoes have been confirmed as vectors of ZIKV in the lab. But studies have also suggested that mosquitoes of the same species from different regions may have different competencies as vectors.

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CDC: California leads the nation in mosquito-borne disease

From ABC 10
June 20, 2018

When it comes to mosquito-borne diseases, California is number one, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC reports that over the last decade, California leads the nation with more than 9,000 cases of mosquito-transmitted disease.

“These numbers are startling as they only represent mosquito-transmitted diseases that were reported to health officials said,” David Heft, president of the Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California.

According to the report, two invasive species of mosquito have been found in 200 cities across California since 2011; that’s in addition to the state’s native mosquito species.

California is followed by New York and Texas. The report included both local disease transmission and those associated with travel. It did not adjust for population.

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Why do suicidal beetles invade my basement each spring?

From The Mercury News
June 20, 2018

DEAR JOAN: Every year around this time, a herd of suicidal beetles appears in our basement, which is built into a hill. There is sandy ground in some areas, and one wall faces the outside. The beetles appear out of nowhere and I cannot find any opening to the outside they could have used to enter the basement.

Most of them are dead when I find them, but sometimes they are still alive. When I capture them to bring them outside, they make a deep humming sound. They are about 1 to 1½ inches long. I find them until about August or September, then they are gone again.

How can I prevent these beautiful beetles from continuing to commit suicide, and what are they?  Help please.

Annette Scheibner, Scotts Valley

DEAR ANNETTE: Your suicidal beetles are ten-lined June beetles (Polyphylla decemlineata), also known as watermelon or scarab beetles. How or why they’re in your basement is a mystery, although I’m pretty certain they aren’t going there deliberately to die.

Steve Schutz, scientific programs manager for Contra Costa County Mosquito and Vector Control, identified the beetles from your photos, but he’s just as perplexed as you are about why they’re in your basement.

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Press Release: CDC Report Finds California Has Highest Number of Mosquito- Transmitted Disease Cases in the Nation

Sacramento, June 20, 2018 – California leads the nation in mosquito-borne disease cases over the last decade, according to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The State reported 9,254 cases of mosquito-transmitted diseases between 2004 and 2016, followed by New York with 7,167 and Texas with 6,648. California had 100 times more mosquito-transmitted disease cases than Alaska (87), which reported the lowest number of cases in the country during the same period. The report included the total number of local and travel-associated disease transmission cases per state and did not adjust for population.

“These numbers are startling as they only represent mosquito-transmitted diseases that were reported to health officials said,” David Heft, president of the Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California. “Also not reflected in the data are the emerging disease threats the state faces due to the rise of invasive mosquitoes now present in 12 counties in Southern and Central California.”

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No West Nile in Yolo County, but cases increase in nearby Sacramento County

From Winters Express
June 20, 2018

Two birds and a number of mosquitos have tested positive for the deadly West Nile virus in samples processed today, county officials said.

In a press release issued Wednesday, the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District said the birds and mosquito samples were collected from different areas throughout Sacramento County.

In all, eight birds and 13 mosquito samples have tested positive for the virus, the agency said. All of those samples came from Sacramento County and no cases of West Nile have been reported in animals or insects from Yolo County.

“The mosquito and West Nile virus season is definitely underway,” Gary Goodman, the agency’s district manager, said in a statement. “It’s important for residents to be mindful and take all the necessary precautions to avoid being bitten.”

The agency said the increase in virus transmission was likely caused by warming temperatures in the region.

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Insect-Related Risks to Outdoor Workers

From CDPH
June 2018

A new fact sheet and investigation report from the California Department of Public Health’s Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program details the death of a date palm tree worker after he was attacked by multiple bees at an organic orchard in Southern California. Aggressive Africanized honey bees now account for the majority of feral honey bees in this region. Employers can post the fact sheet – also available in Spanish –  at work sites.

Outdoor workers in agriculture, landscaping, construction, and other industries are at risk for insect-related illnesses and injuries, including fatal anaphylactic shock and mosquito-borne and tickborne diseases.

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Protect yourself from the dangers of Zika

From Corsicana Daily Sun
June 19, 2018

The time is here and so are the mosquitoes. And with mosquitoes comes mosquito-borne viruses such as the Zika virus. It is crucial to take preventative measures when spending time outdoors to protect yourself from the dangers of Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases.

We’ve all been victim of mosquitoes and the red, itchy bumps they leave behind. Unfortunately, mosquito bites can also become dangerous as the Zika virus has made its way into the United States.

The Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an Aedes mosquito. The mosquitoes become infected after biting a human who has the virus, which then allows the virus to be spread to other humans with each bite that the mosquito makes. According to the Center for Disease Control, 662 Zika virus cases were reported in 2017, with Texas being one of the hardest hit states.

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West Nile Virus returns to the state, Stanislaus County

From The Turlock Journal
June 19, 2018

The threat of mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile Virus and St. Louis Encephalitis has the Turlock Mosquito Abatement District engaging in an aggressive strategy to rid the region of as many of the virulent pests as possible.

The effort has become more critical as yellow fever mosquitoes were found in Merced County last season and the radius in which they were found is growing. This mosquito, Aedes aegypti, is capable of transmitting several human diseases, including dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika. Since 2013, Aedes aegypti has been detected in 13 other California counties, primarily south of Merced.

“That’s got our red flag up,” said TMAD General Manager David Heft.

Moreover, the California Department of Public Health announced four people in Southern California have been confirmed as having West Nile Virus.

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Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus in Indian Wells

From News Channel 3
June 18, 2018

The first mosquitoes to test positive for West Nile virus in the Coachella Valley this year were recently discovered in Indian Wells, officials said today.

The two positive samples were found among mosquitoes collected in a trap near Fairway Drive and Cook Street, according to the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.

District officials say that surveillance and testing will be increased in communities near the trap location.

“This is a bit late in the season to see our first West Nile virus-positive mosquito sample,” district spokeswoman Jill Oviatt said. “But now that it’s here, we want to make sure residents know what they need to do to prevent getting infected with potentially serious viruses.”

Officials advised residents to inspect their yards for any standing water sources, which can serve as mosquito breeding sites.

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Two mosquitoes found in Stockton have tested positive for West Nile

From Recordnet.com
June 18, 2018

Two mosquitoes found in Stockton’s 95219 ZIP code area tested positive for West Nile virus in testing done by the San Joaquin County Mosquito and Vector Control District.

“This is the first find of WNV in San Joaquin County for 2018,” said Aaron Devencenzi, public information officer of the district. “With warm weather, mosquito populations will continue to increase, leading to an elevated risk of WNV in humans.”

In addition to work by the mosquito and vector control district, reduction of West Nile virus and other mosquito-transmitted diseases is dependent on all residents. The district recommends:

• Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property that can support mosquito breeding.

• Apply insect repellent containing the active ingredient DEET or Picaridin when outdoors, according to label instructions.

• Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, at dawn and dusk, and especially for the first two hours after sunset.

• When outdoors, wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and other protective clothing.

• Exclude mosquitoes from your home with tight fitting screens on doors and windows.

• Contact your veterinarian for information on vaccinating equine against WNV.

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Infected Mosquitoes Found, Spraying Planned For Tuesday

From The San Francisco Gate
June 17, 2018

SANTA CLARA (BCN) 

Mosquitoes caught in a limited area near the Santa Clara-Sunnyvale border have tested positive for the West Nile virus, prompting a planned Tuesday spraying in portions of four ZIP code areas. 

The Santa Clara County Vector Control District is scheduled to spray the mosquito control treatment from truck-based tanks beginning at 11 p.m. Tuesday in the affected areas, Santa Clara County officials said Friday. 

The spraying is expected to last a few hours. 

The affected area is bordered on the south by El Camino Real, East Arques Avenue on the north and South Fair Oaks Avenue on the west. The eastern boundary is far more jagged, with its easternmost point where the Caltrain tracks cross over Bowers Avenue. 

Door hangers with notice of the planned spraying are being distributed and notice is being made both through Nextdoor online networks and through AlertSCC notifications via cell phone, email or landline phone. 

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CDPH Confirms First Human West Nile Virus Illnesses of 2018

From CDPH
June 15, 2018

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced today the first confirmed illnesses in California due to West Nile virus (WNV). The four illnesses occurred in Los Angeles, Kern and Riverside Counties. “West Nile virus activity in the state is increasing, so I urge Californians to take every possible precaution to protect against mosquito bites,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. 

West Nile virus is transmitted to humans and animals by the bite of an infected mosquito. As of June 8, 2018, WNV has been detected in 14 dead birds from seven counties and four mosquito samples from three counties. Hot temperatures this month are contributing to increasing numbers of mosquitoes and the increased risk of virus transmission to humans. So far this season, activity is within expected levels. The risk of disease due to WNV usually increases at this time of year and is highest throughout the summer and early fall. West Nile virus is influenced by many factors, including climate, the number and types of birds and mosquitoes in an area, and the level of WNV immunity in birds. The risk of serious illness to most people is low. However, some individuals – less than one percent – can develop serious neurologic illnesses such as encephalitis or meningitis. In 2017, there were 553 reported WNV cases in California, including 44 deaths. People 50 years of age and older, and individuals with diabetes or hypertension, have a higher chance of getting sick and are more likely to develop complications from WNV infection. 

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County sprays for mosquitoes with recent larvacide dumps

From The Coast News Group
June 14, 2018

REGION — Last month, San Diego County began its annual larvicide dumps throughout the county to combat mosquitoes and diseases.

Chris Conlan, supervising vector ecologist, said the county is hopeful this year will show a decrease in West Nile, Zika, Dengue fever and other diseases spread by mosquitoes.

The county also conducts aerial drops from helicopters at 48 waterway sites throughout the county. The total 1,004 acres and will be done monthly for the rest of summer including on June 27.

The largest site is the Buena Vista Lagoon on the Carlsbad-Oceanside border, which covers 120 acres, followed by the San Elijo Lagoon (west and east) on the Encinitas-Solana Beach border spanning 80 acres.

“Those sites are chosen because they can’t be easily done any other way,” Conlan said. “There’s not good access or just too massive … whereas a helicopter can just cruise over and get done in a few minutes in what would take us an awfully long time.”

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LOCAL AREA MOSQUITOES TEST WEST NILE VIRUS POSITIVE

From San Joaquin County MVCD
June 14, 2018

(STOCKTON, CA) – San Joaquin County Mosquito and Vector Control District’s (District) mosquito-borne disease surveillance program confirmed two West Nile virus (WNV) positive mosquito samples found in zip code 95219. “This is the first find of WNV in San Joaquin County for 2018 said Aaron Devencenzi, Public Information Officer of the District. “With warm weather, mosquito populations will continue to increase, leading to an elevated risk of WNV in humans, said Devencenzi.

Adult mosquito control activities will increase in accordance with the District’s surveillance results. The District does its part in controlling mosquitoes; however mosquito control is everyone’s responsibility. It is important that people protect themselves from mosquito bites.

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Whatever happened to Zika?

From Yahoo Finance
June 13, 2018

Three years ago, the Zika virus was making nearly daily headlines — its devastating effects on babies born to mothers who were infected by the virus triggered global public emergencies and thousands of canceled trips to Latin America and the Caribbean. Even some Olympians decided against participating in the 2016 Games because of the risk of getting bitten by a mosquito and becoming infected by Zika in Rio de Janeiro.

Now the infection has all but disappeared from the media landscape and conversation.

The Zika virus was first reported in the Western Hemisphere in 2015, just as the West African Ebola virus epidemic was declining. Though it was initially believed to be the result of a well-known related pathogen, the dengue virus, or possible exposure to a toxic insecticide, it soon became clear to clinicians and researchers that it was in fact a newly emergent virus.

Zika spread rapidly from northeastern Brazil to other South American countries, through Central America and up to the Caribbean, leaving a large number of people infected. The symptoms typically were mild and nonspecific — rash, fever and joint pain. Many of those infected had no symptoms at all.

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Crow tests positive for West Nile Virus in Humboldt County

From the Times-Standard
June 13, 2018

The following is a press release issued by the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services:

An American Crow in Humboldt County has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). This is the first WNV-positive bird reported in the county this year.

Statewide, a total of 15 birds have tested positive for WNV already this year, according to the California Department of Public Health. No human cases have been reported.

“It’s early in the season to be seeing positive birds,” said Melissa Martel, Director of the Department of Health & Human Services’ Division of Environmental Health. “It takes several weeks of warm temperatures for the virus to intensify and several cycles of disease transmission for the virus to cause illness.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people get infected with WNV after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Mosquitos become infected when they feed on infected birds and can then spread the virus to other animals.

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Platform uses artificial intelligence to diagnose Zika and other pathogens

From EurekAlert
June 12, 2018

A platform that can diagnose several diseases with a high degree of precision using metabolic markers found in patients’ blood has been developed by scientists at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in Brazil.

The method combines mass spectrometry, which can identify tens of thousands of molecules present in blood serum, with an artificial intelligence algorithm capable of finding patterns associated with diseases of viral, bacterial, fungal and even genetic origin.

The research was supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP and conducted as part of Carlos Fernando Odir Rodrigues Melo’s PhD. The results have been published in Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology.

“We used infection by Zika virus as a model to develop the platform and showed that in this case, diagnostic accuracy exceeded 95%. One of the main advantages is that the method doesn’t lose sensitivity even if the virus mutates,” said Melo’s supervisor Rodrigo Ramos Catharino, principal investigator for the project. Catharino is a professor at UNICAMP’s School of Pharmaceutical Sciences (FCF) and head of its Innovare Biomarker Laboratory.

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Could A Single Vaccine Prevent Multiple Diseases Spread By Mosquitoes?

From The American Council on Science and Health
June 12, 2018

The reason there is no universal flu vaccine is because the influenza virus constantly changes. That’s why we get jabbed with a new vaccine every season; the vaccine from the previous year is unlikely to work against the strains of flu circulating this year.

The hunt for a universal influenza vaccine is based on targeting parts of the virus that don’t change. In theory, antibodies generated against these portions of the virus should confer protection against all influenza viruses. Whoever develops and successfully demonstrates such a vaccine should win a Nobel Prize.

But this may not be the only strategy for the creation of universal vaccines. Indeed, a team of researchers who are concerned by mosquito-borne illnesses has described a very clever idea for the development of universal vaccines in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

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Tick, mosquito and flea borne illness cases triple in 15 years

From WXOW
June 11, 2018

La Crosse County, WI (WXOW) –

They are an unfortunate part of summer – crawling, biting, flying, irritating hordes – and because of weather patterns, we may be seeing more of them.

“Winter kind of lasted until the middle of April for much of Wisconsin,” Gundersen Infection Preventionist Megan Meller said. “That’s a perfect condition for some of these insects like ticks and mosquitoes.”

The CDC says illnesses from ticks, mosquitoes and fleas have tripled since 2004, with tick-borne illnesses accounting for 60 percent of all those cases. Wisconsin and Minnesota are in the top 20 percent of reported cases.

“There’s other types of Lyme disease that are out there,” Meller said. “So it’s really best that we just be prepared for that.”

It takes more than 24 hours for a tick to transmit disease. Thorough body checks after a day in the woods or tall grass is key to prevention.

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