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Source: County News Service

September 30, 2016 (Lemon Grove) -- County Vector Control crews plan to hand-spray a neighborhood in Lemon Grove early next week to continue to prevent invasive Aedes mosquitoes from getting the chance to potentially spread the Zika virus.

The Lemon Grove neighborhood’s approximate borders are San Miguel Avenue on the north, Corona Street on the west, midway between Tweed Street and Brunei Court on the south and midway between New Jersey Avenue and Buena Vista Avenue to the east.

Vector Control has been hand-spraying to protect the public health in neighborhoods where invasive Aedes mosquitoes or their larvae have been found living close to people who have tested positive for the Zika virus. The Lemon Grove neighborhood will become the sixth neighborhood in the county since Aug. 19 that has met the spraying criteria and been sprayed.

All of the people who have tested positive for Zika in San Diego County were related to travel outside the country.  No mosquitoes in San Diego County have tested positive for the Zika virus.

Two invasive species of Aedes mosquitoes found in San Diego County can transmit Zika and other tropical diseases if they first bite an infected person. Aedes aegypti, the yellow fever mosquito, was found in San Diego in late 2014. Aedes albopictus, the Asian tiger mosquito, was found in late 2015.

The hand-spraying will kill adult mosquitoes that could carry and spread the virus. Vector Control expects to conduct the spraying Monday, weather permitting, and will continue to conduct trapping for invasive Aedes mosquitoes in the area and nearby locations for several weeks.

Vector Control officials went door-to-door in the Lemon Grove spraying area Thursday, talking with residents, leaving door-hanger notifications and showing people how to keep mosquitoes from breeding in their homes and yards.

The other neighborhoods where hand-spraying has been done include: South Park on Aug. 19, Mt. Hope on Sept. 6, Adams North on Sept. 9, Grant Hill on Sept. 12 and Skyline on Sept. 23.

County environmental health officials again urged people to protect themselves by finding and dumping out any standing water inside and outside their homes to make sure mosquitoes have no place to breed.

Unlike native San Diego County mosquitoes, invasive Aedes species prefer to live around people — inside and outside homes and in backyards — and can breed in as little as a thimble-full of water. A female mosquito lays 100 to 300 eggs at a time and can potentially lay 1,000 to 3,000 eggs in its lifetime.

The invasive Aedes mosquitoes have a specific feature that makes them literally as different as night and day from native mosquitoes. That is, they bite people during daylight hours, in addition to at dusk and dawn. Native mosquitoes do not bite during the day, only at night, including dusk and dawn. Invasive Aedes mosquitoes are also smaller than native mosquitoes and have distinctive black and white markings.

The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that only about 20 percent of people who get infected with the Zika virus ever experience any illness. However, the Zika virus has been linked to a severe birth defect, microcephaly, a condition where babies’ heads and brains are smaller than normal.

Trained County Vector Control technicians will use ultra-low-volume hand-sprayers to apply Pyrenone 25-5, a pesticide approved for use by the Environmental Protection Agency. Pyrenone 25-5 is derived from chrysanthemums, poses low risks to people and pets and dissipates in roughly 20 to 30 minutes. However, the County is instructing residents in the spray areas that they can avoid or minimize their exposure to the pesticide by taking simple steps:

  • Stay inside and bring pets indoors if possible
  • Close doors and windows, and turn off fans that bring outdoor air inside the home
  • Cover ornamental fishponds to avoid direct exposure
  • Rinse fruits and vegetables from your garden with water before cooking or eating
  • Wipe down or cover outdoor items such as toys and cover barbecue grills
  • Beekeepers and those with insects kept outdoors are encouraged to shelter hives and habitats during treatments. Beekeepers are required to register their apiaries with the County’s Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures to receive advance notice of when a pesticide that may affect bees is applied to blossoming plants in their areas.
  • You may resume normal activities 30 minutes after the treatment

County officials said people should follow the County’s “Prevent, Protect, Report” guidelines.

Prevent mosquito breeding

Dump out or remove any item inside or outside of homes that can hold water, such as plant saucers, rain gutters, buckets, garbage cans, toys, old tires, and wheelbarrows. Mosquito fish, available for free by contacting the Vector Control Program, may be used to control mosquito breeding in backyard water sources such as unused swimming pools, ponds, fountains and horse troughs.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites

Protect yourself from mosquito-borne illnesses by wearing long sleeves and pants or use repellent when outdoors. Use insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. Make sure screens on windows and doors are in good condition and secured to keep insects out.

Report possible mosquito activity

Report if you are being bitten by mosquitoes during daylight hours, or if you find mosquitoes that match the description of Aedes mosquitoes by contacting the Vector Control Program at (858) 694-2888.

Information about the Zika virus, chikungunya, and dengue and can be found on the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

For more information about mosquito-borne illnesses virus, go to San Diego County’s “Fight the Bite” website. You can also get more information about how the County works to trap and test invasive Aedes mosquitoes, and hear how the public can help prevent mosquitoes from breeding in the following videos.

County on Front Lines to Stop Zika Spread

Mosquitoes, Mosquitoes, Protect Your Family

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