County to spray Escondido neighborhood for possible Zika virus

County to spray Escondido neighborhood for possible Zika virus
An Escondido neighborhood, roughly 17 acres in size and that includes 109 units, bordered on by Rimrock Drive on the north and East El Norte Parkway on the south will be sprayed Thursday, weather permitting, to kill invasive Aedes mosquitoes and prevent them from potentially spreading the Zika virus. Image courtesy County of San Diego

ESCONDIDO — County Vector Control crews plan to hand-spray an Escondido neighborhood Thursday to kill invasive Aedes mosquitoes and prevent them from potentially spreading the Zika virus after finding them near a person who contracted Zika outside the country, according to a county news release.

The area to be hand-sprayed is roughly 17 acres in size, includes 109 units and is bordered on by Rimrock Drive on the north and East El Norte Parkway on the south.

County crews went door-to-door in the area Tuesday to notify residents in person, leave door hangers and show people how to prevent mosquitoes from breeding inside and outside their homes.

Vector Control plans to hand-spray the area weather permitting.

This will be the eighth neighborhood that Vector Control has had to hand-spray this year to protect the public health.

Two invasive species of Aedes mosquitoes in San Diego County can transmit tropical diseases like the Zika virus, dengue and chikungunya if they first bite an infected person. No invasive Aedes mosquitoes have tested positive for carrying any diseases in San Diego County to date.

County officials have continued to urge people to protect themselves from mosquitoes and take simple steps to prevent them from breeding in the first place — mainly by finding and dumping out any standing water inside and outside their homes.

Invasive Aedes mosquitoes are known as “urban” mosquitoes because they prefer to live and breed around people, in backyards and even inside homes. Invasive Aedes mosquitoes can breed in as little as a thimble-full of water, and females lay between 100 to 300 eggs at a time.

One big difference between invasive Aedes mosquitoes and native mosquitoes is their biting habits. Both invasive Aedes and native culex mosquitoes — which can transmit West Nile virus if they bite infected birds and animals — like to bite around dusk and dawn.

But invasive Aedes mosquitoes also bite during daylight hours. Culex mosquitoes feed at night, not during daylight.

Report if you are being bitten by mosquitoes during daylight hours, or if you find mosquitoes that match the description of Aedes mosquitoes by contacting the Vector Control Program at (858) 694-2888.

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