Invasive Aedes mosquito present in Ventura County’s Second Metropolis

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Jeremy Childs

| Ventura County Star

Ventura County officials found specimens of an invasive and potentially dangerous species of mosquito in Thousand Oaks several days after the mosquito became public in the county.

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, also known as yellow fever mosquitoes, were first spotted in the Simi Valley on September 9, according to the Ventura County’s Environmental Health Division.

The species can be recognized by the white stripes on its back and legs and can transmit viruses such as zika, yellow fever, dengue fever, and chikungunya. According to authorities, they are described as small and aggressive day mosquitoes.

Although the species can transmit potentially fatal diseases, no known cases of transmission have been recorded in California.

The mosquito was not from Ventura County and was not found here until September 9th. The mosquito was previously found in neighboring counties, including Kern and Los Angeles counties, and has increased in population.

Environmental health officials are currently working with the California Department of Health to assess the extent of the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in Ventura County. The current extent of the mosquito is unknown beyond evidence of specimens in Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks.

What can you do to help

The public is advised to contain the spread of the mosquito by removing stagnant water in small containers such as pots, bird baths, fountains, and other containers. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes lay their eggs just above the waterline, making stagnant water a key factor in curbing the insect’s spread. Residents are encouraged to inspect the exterior of their home and remove any amount of standing water, and wash outdoor containers as often as once a week.

The county’s environmental health department also monitors sites where mosquitoes have been reported and inspects the area for potential breeding grounds and setting traps.

To reduce the chance of being bitten by Aedes aegypti or other species of mosquito, residents should have narrow screens on doors and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering the house. Wear clothing outdoors to cover as much exposed skin as possible in daylight.

All residents who suffer a mosquito bite during the day are asked to report this to the hotline for mosquito complaints at 805-658-4310. Residents who have returned from areas with viruses such as dengue and Zika and report headaches, fever, or joint and muscle pain are asked to stay indoors as much as possible to prevent the possible spread of the virus.

Jeremy Childs is a breaking news and public safety reporter covering the night shift for the Ventura County star. He can be reached on 805-437-0208 or by email at jeremy.childs@vcstar.com. You can also find him on Twitter @Jeremy_Childs.

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