San Diego Sprays for Mosquitoes After Potential Zika Case

San Diego (Nan Palmero / Flickr / CC)
Nan Palmero / Flickr / CC

San Diego county officials are scheduled to spray pesticides in a two-block area after the larvae of mosquitoes known to carry the Zika virus were found near someone there who may have contracted a mosquito-borne illness, possibly Zika, abroad.

The potentially infected person recently returned home from a country where mosquitoes carrying chikungunya, dengue fever and Zika are active, according to county public health officials. The person then developed symptoms.

San Diego County’s Vector Control Program inspectors searched and found Aedes mosquito larvae in the potentially infected individual’s neighborhood. They are hand-spraying a two-block area on Friday as a preventative measure.

“Although there has not been a confirmed case of any disease in this situation, we are taking appropriate steps to minimize potential risk and protect the public’s health,” said County deputy public health officer Sayone Thihalolipavan, M.D., M.P.H.

The spray being used is a pesticide known as Pyrenone 25-5. Risk to people and pets is low, according to the county announcement of the planned spraying. Those seeking to avoid exposure have been told to stay inside, close windows and doors, cover fishponds, rinse food grown in their gardens, and shelter beehives until 30 minutes after the treatment is concluded.

The County of San Diego said Thursday that no Aedes mosquitoes in the area have ever been found to carry tropical diseases. They will continue to trap the mosquitoes nearby for several weeks.

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes have been found in California, but no reports have indicated any carrying Zika — yet. Around the beginning of February, an infestation was found in Orange County. The California Department of Public Health reported 114 cases of travel-related Zika virus infection in humans in California as of July 29. 21 of those were pregnant women and two have given birth to babies with the Zika-associated birth defect microcephaly.

Mosquitoes in parts of Miami, Florida were recently discovered to have transmitted the Zika virus. Authorities responded with a partial travel restriction for the area and have sprayed to control the mosquitoes.

San Diego county officials hope spraying will help prevent cases of mosquito-spread disease from being transmitted within the area.

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