LANCASTER – The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder that local residents need to protect themselves from all public health threats, including mosquito-transmitted diseases, according to the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.
Mosquito and Vector Control Awareness Week, observed April 19-25, raises awareness and educates residents about the public health threat mosquitoes pose to communities.
Mosquitoes don’t transmit Covid-19, but they can transmit several other diseases, including West Nile virus — a mosquito-borne disease that has impacted the lives of local residents since 2003. West Nile virus remains the largest mosquito-related public health threat in California.
“There is no human vaccine for West Nile virus, which can cause debilitating cases of meningitis, encephalitis, and even death” states District Manager Cei Kratz. “As we enter mosquito season, the District urges all residents to take precautions to protect themselves from mosquito-transmitted diseases.”
Stagnant water creates mosquito breeding sites. Mosquitoes can lay their eggs in sources of water as small as a bottle cap and can complete their life cycle, from egg to adult, in about a week.
“With many Californians at home right now under stay-at-home orders, it’s a good time to check around properties and yards for mosquito sources,” said Peter Bonkrude, president of the Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California (MVCAC). “Children who are home from school can help check yards and learn about the importance of dumping and draining all standing water. Checking flowerpots, buckets, and other backyard sources is an easy and very important activity.”
Climate change has facilitated the spread of two invasive mosquito species: Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti. Invasive Aedes exploit small, cryptic water sources (think plant saucers, children’s toys, trash,) and are vectors of Zika, dengue fever, chikungunya, yellow fever, and dog heartworm. There are no human vaccines for dengue fever and Zika viruses, both of which are costly to treat and can have long-term health and financial consequences.
To minimize exposure to mosquito bites, residents are encouraged to:
- Apply insect repellent containing EPA-registered aoctive ingredients, including DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon
eucalyptus, or IR3535, according to label instructions, prior to going outdoors.
- Dress in loose-fitting long sleeves and pants when mosquitoes are present.
- Install screens on windows and doors and keep them in good repair to keep mosquitoes out of the home.
- Eliminate all sources of standing water, including water found in flowerpots, old tires, buckets, pet dishes, and trash cans.
- Repair leaking faucets and broken sprinklers to prevent creating sources of standing water.
- Clean rain gutters clogged with leaves.
For more information on mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases, visit the California Department of Public Health at:
To report mosquito nuisances or green pools locally, call 661-942-2917 or email Leann@avmosquito.org.
[Information via news release from the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.]