California Detects Disease Carrying Mosquitoes

Yellow fever and dengue carrying mosquitoes discovered in California counties

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) As if the West Nile virus wasn't enough of a reason to try to stay away from mosquitoes, residents of California now have a new reason to avoid these bug bites. State officials have discovered a type of mosquito known to carry other, sometimes serious, diseases.

The discovered species of mosquito is not native to the state and is known to carry a variety of diseases, including yellow fever and dengue fever.

Health officials are asking residents to report mosquito bites received during the day — when this type of mosquito often strikes.

"Fix screens on windows and doors to keep bugs out. "

According to the County of Fresno Department of Public Health (DPH), the Aedes aegypti species of mosquito was first detected in June in Clovis, a city in Fresno County, in nearby Madera county and in San Mateo County in the San Francisco Bay area. This week, new reports of the bugs came from additional locations in Fresno County, in the cities of Fresno and Fowler.

While no illnesses associated with the bugs have been reported, health authorities are on alert. The Aedes aegypti is known to carry diseases like yellow fever, dengue fever and chikungunya fever. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), yellow fever is usually found in the tropical and subtropical regions of South America and Africa. Most infected people have no illness or have mild symptoms like fever, chills, body aches, nausea, vomiting and weakness. However, in about 15 percent of cases, patients experience a brief period of remission followed by severe illness including high fever, bleeding and organ failure. 

Dengue fever is found worldwide in tropical and subtropical regions. Symptoms include high fever, joint, muscle and bone pain, severe headache and rash. In rare cases, dengue hemorrhagic fever can develop, which includes symptoms like severe abdominal pain and problems breathing, said CDC. 

Chikungunya fever is mostly found in Africa and Asia. Typical symptoms also include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle and joint pain and rash. CDC reported that symptoms usually last for a few days to a few weeks, but the disease can linger and in some cases, severe joint pain can last for weeks or months.

The Aedes aegypti is small and dark with white markings and bands on the legs, reported Fresno DPH. The bugs might be active during dusk and dawn but typically bite during the day, often indoors. 

In a Fresno DPH news release, Tim Phillips, Manager of the Fresno Mosquito and Vector Control District stressed the importance of being proactive against mosquitoes.

“Detection of this mosquito in additional communities is of great concern. The public’s help is needed to eradicate this mosquito population before it can become established,” said Phillips. “Residents who experience mosquito bites during the day are asked to contact their mosquito abatement district right away.” 

Review Date: 
October 18, 2013
Last Updated:
October 20, 2013