Public education campaign about yellow fever mosquito is set for Nov. 2 in Menlo Park

by Contributed Content on October 28, 2013

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On November 2, 2013, from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm, the Menlo Park Fire Protection Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), in collaboration with San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control and San Mateo County Health System, will be conducting a community campaign to distribute information to Menlo Park residents about the Aedes aegypti mosquito and how to help eradicate this mosquito population.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito species is often referred to as the Yellow Fever Mosquito, since it can transmit yellow fever as well as dengue, chikungunya, and several viruses that cause encephalitis. To date, no illnesses associated with this mosquito have been reported in California.

An Aedes aegypti mosquito adult was identified in San Mateo County on August 23, 2013 at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Menlo Park. It was collected as an egg two weeks prior and reared to an adult in the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District laboratory. The District responded with enhanced surveillance activities and public education in the affected community areas.

The County Mosquito and Vector Control District has since detected egg, larvae, and adult forms of the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in Menlo Park, suggesting that the invasive mosquito is attempting to establish itself in the area.

“While this mosquito population is not native to California, we want to ensure the Aedes aegypti species does not become established in any of our communities,” said Robert Gay for San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District. “The local community can be of great assistance by helping to eliminate all breeding areas around their home and neighborhood.”

On November 2, CERT volunteers will assemble at Menlo Park Fire Protection District Fire Station 4 at 3322 Alamedas de las Pulgas in Menlo Park. Volunteers will then proceed to assigned neighborhood areas and distribute information regarding the abatement and eradication of this mosquito. The information focuses on the importance of residents eliminating eggs in water holding containers, rather than simply removing water sources.

Aedes aegypti mosquitos are capable of surviving as eggs in dry containers over the winter, and hatching in the spring when the weather is warmer. The goal is to eliminate eggs in containers that can hold water, such as saucers, buckets, jars, and pots, and therefore public awareness and community participation are necessary for the successful elimination of this mosquito population.

Residents can destroy the mosquito eggs with any of the following methods:

• Scrubbing with bleach or household cleaner
• Adding sand
• Drilling holes in bottom of container to prevent further water accumulation
• Calling the San Mateo Mosquito and Vector Control District (650) 344-8592 with questions about removing containers or to schedule an inspection

“While the current risk of disease transmission from this mosquito remains low, it’s important to make every effort to eradicate this population and prevent the possibility of any future disease transmission” said Dr. Scott Morrow, Health Officer for San Mateo County. “The public can help by surveying around their house and neighborhood and eliminate even the smallest amount of standing water, since these mosquitos lay eggs in water, just above the water line.”

Residents experiencing mosquito bites during the day should report them to the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District (650) 344-8592 or the Santa Clara Vector Control District (408) 918-4770.

Additional information can be found at:
• San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District (650) 344-8592
California Department of Public Health
San Mateo County Health System
Santa Clara Vector Control District (408) 918-4770)

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