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Apr 28, 2015

05:24:14 GMT--Biological Hazard - North-America - USA

EDIS Number: BH-20150428-47977-USA
Date / time: 28/04/2015 05:20:08 [UTC]
Event: Biological Hazard
Area: North-America
Country: USA
State/County: State of California
Location: Anaheim [Orange County]
Number of Deads: N/A
Number of Injured: N/A
Number of Infected: N/A
Number of Missing: N/A
Number of Affected: N/A
Number of Evacuated: N/A
Damage level: N/A


There's a new mosquito in town. It's an aggressive and relentless biter called the yellow fever mosquito, and it has vector control officials worried - but not for the reason typically associated with mosquitoes and Orange County. Though this type of mosquito is capable of transmitting West Nile Virus, it's more likely to carry such debilitating tropical diseases as dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever. It was detected last week for the first time in Orange County, vector control officials said Monday, though it has popped up around California, including in Los Angeles County, the past several years. No one has fallen ill. Inspectors discovered the insect's eggs April 21 on the stem of a "lucky bamboo" plant inside an Anaheim home. The family called vector control after having been repeatedly bitten for the past three weeks, Orange County Vector Control District spokesman Jared Dever said. The mosquitoes were striking inside the house during the daytime - a tell-tale sign that the bites were not the work of a native species, which emerge after sunset to avoid predators. Dever said it does not appear the yellow fever mosquito is making a widespread appearance in Orange County. In the past week, only a few adults have turned up in traps - all on that same property. Of those, all but one, from a backyard trap, were collected inside, he said. "We have not been able to retrieve anything beyond that residence so far - so that's very good news," he said. "They don't move very far on their own. Once they find a suitable habitat, where they have a water source for their young to breed and a blood meal source, like a resident, they don't move around," Dever said. Yellow fever mosquitoes are stealthy, approaching from behind to bite ankles and elbows. They prefer people and bite mostly mammals, including dogs. "They will identify you're a blood meal and at that point they're not going to leave you alone," Dever said. But because they don't tend to go after birds, which carry West Nile Virus, it does not seem likely they will provoke another outbreak of that virus this year. Last year, a West Nile Virus outbreak killed eight people in Orange County, which had 10 percent of all West Nile Virus cases nationwide. The yellow fever mosquitoes will only spread diseases if they bite an infected person. Last year, there were 126 cases of dengue and 119 cases of chikungunya reported across California. All people had traveled to countries where those diseases are present, mostly Latin America, according to the California Department of Public Health.

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