New tools urgently needed to protect Californians from mosquito-transmitted diseases

From the Capitol Weekly
February 24, 2023


POSTED 02.24.2023

OPINION – Mosquito and vector control districts are on the front lines each day working to protect Californians from debilitating and deadly mosquito-transmitted diseases.

Invasive Aedes mosquitoes, which can transmit viruses that cause Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever, pose significant challenges. First detected in California in 2013, these invasive mosquitoes are now in 25 counties throughout the state from San Diego to Shasta and are very hard to control. Districts urgently need new tools that can help them immediately fight back.

In the past 10 years, no new tools have been approved in our state to assist mosquito control districts in fighting the spread of invasive Aedes mosquitoes. Unfortunately, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is not demonstrating a sense of urgency to support research necessary to develop new tools to fight this difficult and expensive uphill battle. The timeframe it takes for disease-spreading mosquitoes to invade new regions is not in line with current regulatory standards for approval and such delays put our state very far behind.

While there has not yet been local transmission of Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever in California, the question is not if, but when. Looking at last year alone, the border state of Sonora, Mexico had more than 9,000 cases with 91 people dying from dengue in 2022 and while 750 Floridians acquired dengue while traveling, 57 people were infected at home because the mosquitoes that can transmit the virus are in their neighborhoods.

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