The San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District confirmed Friday that it found a yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) this week at Holy Cross Cemetery in Menlo Park.
The cemetery is located on Santa Cruz Avenue near Sherman Avenue in a residential area of Menlo Park.
The species is not native to California but is common in the southeastern area of the United States, the district said in a press release. It has the potential to transmit several viruses, including dengue and yellow fever, but these viruses are not currently found in California, said district manager Robert Gay.
He said this type of mosquito was found earlier this summer in Fresno and Madera, but no illnesses associated with this mosquito have been reported.
The district is working with the San Mateo County Health System, the California Department of Public Health and the Santa Clara County Vector Control District to evaluate the extent of the infestation and prevent its spread, he said.
"Our goal is to quickly eradicate this mosquito population," Mr. Gay said in the press release. "We will do everything to help ensure this mosquito does not become established in our communities."
The district will deploy traps for adult mosquitoes and mosquito eggs surrounding the location where the mosquito was found. In addition, district staff will conduct door-to-door inspections of homes and provide educational materials to residents in the neighborhood.
Aedes aegypti is a 1/4-inch black and white mosquito that bites most often during the day. It was previously found in San Mateo County in 1979 near San Francisco International Airport, but was eradicated by the district, Mr. Gay said.
"It's important to note that the current risk of disease transmission from this mosquito is extremely low," said Dr. Scott Morrow, health officer for San Mateo County, in the press release. "But we must make every effort to eradicate this mosquito and not allow it to establish itself here to prevent future disease transmission risk."
The public can help control the spread of this mosquito population, he said.
"The yellow fever mosquito lays its eggs in water, just above the water line in small containers and vessels that hold water, such as pots, pet bowls, bottles, and bird baths. It's important to survey your yard and around your house to eliminate even the smallest amount of standing water."
He said people can avoid bites or reduce the chance of being bitten by taking these steps:
● Apply insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535 and follow label instructions.
● Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes, and repair or replace screens with tears or holes.
● Eliminate standing water and containers that can hold water from around the home.
● Report neglected swimming pools by calling the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control at (650) 344-8592 or the Santa Clara Vector Control District at (408) 918-4770.
● Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants when possible.
● Use mosquito netting over infant carriers, cribs and strollers.
Report mosquito bites during the day to the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District or the Santa Clara Vector Control District at the numbers above.
● Click here to see a yellow fever mosquito fact sheet from the California Department of Public Health.
● Click here for information from the San Mateo County Health System.