The new type of mosquito found in Merced County likes to live around people in urban residential areas and can carry four different types of diseases, including Zika, according to Merced County Mosquito Abatement District officials.
The mosquito “aedes aegypti,” also known as the “yellow-fever mosquito,” can transmit Zika, yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya. As of Tuesday, there have not been any cases of Zika, dengue or yellow fever in Merced County, said Rhiannon Jones, general manager for the Merced County Mosquito Abatement.
As of Sept. 22 there has been 593 cases of Zika throughout the state, according to Jones.
Although there haven’t been any local cases of these diseases transmitted by the mosquito, Jones said, if someone in Merced County travels outside of the country and contracts one of these diseases the mosquito can get the disease and pass it to others.
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“That’s why we're very concerned,” she said. “The mosquito is the prime factor that spreads these diseases.”
Denugue causes fever and, in the most severe cases, can be fatal. Chikungunya can cause fever and joint pain.
The mosquito’s are black and white, about a ¼ of an inch long and prefer to feed on humans, Jones said. They also bite during the day, she said, and like to live around humans and their homes.
The yellow fever mosquitoes lay their eggs just above standing water, like pet bowls, plant saucers and bird baths, Jones said, and they advice people to drain any standing water around their homes.
The mosquito abatement also advices people to cover their skin as much as possible and use use mosquito repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
If bit, Jones said, watch the area for an allergic reaction and wash it with warm soapy water. People can aso seek medical help is they find it necessary.
To report a mosquito breeding problem or request services people can contact 209-722-1527 or go to www.mcmosquito.org.