Zika-carrying mosquito species found in Davis

Local News

DAVIS, Calif. (KTXL) — The mosquito responsible for the spread of the Zika virus has broken out of a containment zone in Winters and has been found in a neighborhood in Davis.

The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District aggressively went after the Aedes aegypti mosquito in 2019, an invasive insect that’s known to carry the Zika virus and several other exotic diseases.

The discovery of the mosquito in Sacramento County was the first time the insect had appeared this far north.

In 2016, a Zika outbreak in the United States caused bitten pregnant women to have an increased risk of their babies being born with deformities and permanent neurological damage.

In mid-August, a major infestation in the Yolo County town of Winters drew lots of attention from mosquito technicians.

“Our technicians started going door-to-door contacting residents, conducting inspections, asking people to let us look at their backyards,” said Luz Maria Robles, a spokesperson for the mosquito and vector control district.

On Tuesday, a single female Aedes aegypti mosquito was found in the El Macero neighborhood of Davis near Pioneer Park.

District officials said they hope it was an isolated find, fearing the mosquitos will establish themselves and start breeding outside the containment zone. 

“Right now, we’re conducting our surveillance to figure out the extent of that infestation in Davis,” Robles explained.

Officials said the mosquito is tough to eradicate because its eggs can survive in a dry environment for months.

That means taking precautions and taking a few extra steps to make sure eggs don’t survive.

“No sharing of plants. No transporting containers,” Robles said. “It’s checking for the water, dumping it but also scrubbing down containers very thoroughly to make sure we also get rid of the eggs.”

Officials said the Zika-bearing mosquitos are apparently active later in the season, often biting during the daylight hours.

The good news is that there are no currently active Zika virus cases in the United States in 2020 but the presence of a carrier has raised red flags.

The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District said they want to hear from residents who have experienced a large number of mosquito bites or mosquito activity in their neighborhood. 

The district said that information gives them a head start in reducing the mosquito population in the area.

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