Yellow fever mosquitoes, so called because of their ability to transmit several debilitating viruses, have been found in Los Angeles County.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the mosquitoes were first discovered in Commerce and Pico Rivera last week.
The mosquitoes can reportedly carry dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever. Those bitten can experience high fever, chills, nausea, and muscle pain.
The mosquitoes belong to the Aedes aegypti species and carry distinct black-and-white stripes on their bodies.
Susanne Kluh, Los Angeles County district director of scientific-technical services, said in a statement that the potentially lethal viruses could be brought to the area by infected travelers.
“While these debilitating viruses, so far, aren’t locally transmitted in L.A. County, the mosquitoes that can transmit them are now here,” Kluh said.
According to the Times, the yellow fever mosquito was first discovered in California in 2010, in the Coachella Valley. The mosquitoes are reportedly well-suited to urban environments, and are “aggressive, daytime biters.”
San Gabriel Valley Vector Control District spokesman Jason Farned told the Times that steps are being taken to mitigate the threat.
“We’re aggressively attacking the populations wherever we find them,” Farned said.
The public is being urged to report any sighting of the yellow fever mosquitoes, which can be identified by their black-and-white stripes, to the San Gabriel Valley district or Los Angeles district.