Mosquito agencies gear up for new challenges

From Westside Connect
January 18, 2018

Emerging trends in the ongoing campaign against mosquitoes and the viruses they transmit have area abatement experts gearing up for new challenges.

In the dead of winter – months ahead of peak mosquito season – officials with the Turlock and Merced County mosquito abatement districts are laying out their strategies for 2018.

New developments which surfaced last year are helping shape that planning.

The West Side saw substantial virus activity in 2017, according to David Heft, general manager of the Turlock district, and Rhiannon Jones, his counterpart with the Merced County district.

In addition to West Nile Virus activity, they told Mattos Newspapers, Saint Louis Encephalitis Virus (WELV) was detected in the Newman-Gustine area for the first time in several years.

That is not the only concern facing the mosquito-fighters.

Last summer, the Merced County Mosquito Abatement discovered the presence of the invasive Aedes aegypti mosquito – which can transmit Zike, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever viruses – in the city of Merced.

Those developments leave the abatement agencies facing a dual challenge as they prepare for 2018 – particularly since the Aedes aegypti mosquito requires a far different eradication approach than that applied in the war against those which carry West Nile and SLEV.

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