A mosquito that can transmit viral diseases to people has been found for the first time in Merced County, according to a statement released on Monday by the Merced County Mosquito Abatement District.
While there have been no reported illnesses in connection with the mosquito in California, according to authorities, health officials on Monday issued an advisory as a precaution.
The mosquito, known as “aedes aegypti,” also known as the “yellow fever mosquito” can transmit Zika, yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya, officials said. Denugue causes fever and, in the most severe cases, can be fatal, according to the Mayo Clinic. Chikungunya can cause fever and joint pain.
The day-biting mosquito is black and white, about 1/4 inches in size and prefers to feed on humans, officials said. It lives in urban areas and lays eggs on the surface of water in small containers like flower pots, plant saucers, pet bowls and bird baths, officials said in a news release.
"Please inspect your property and immediately discard any standing water," officials said in a statement. "If you live in an urban residential area and are being bitten by mosquitoes during the day you are encouraged to contact Merced County Mosquito Abatement District."
Officials said residents should drain standing water in the yards and use mosquito repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus .
Abatement authorities are working with the California Department of Public Health to learn the extent of the infestation "and will aggressively target problem areas to prevent its spread."
Authorities are stepping up efforts to contain the mosquitoes, which will include door-to-door inspections, trapping and other measures.
To report a mosquito breeding problem or request services people can contact 209-722-1527 or go to www.mcmosquito.org.