Aedes aegypti, the species of mosquito which transmits dengue, Zika, and other viruses, have been discovered in California’s Long Beach, raising concern over mosquito-borne diseases in the region.
According to the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), this is the first time that the Zika-carrying mosquito has been detected in the region.
How Long Beach Authorities Are Trying To Control The Situation
Mayor Robert Garcia said that city officials have already advised residents to take proper measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites. The mosquitoes were found in the Northern part of Long Beach, where mosquito control is under the jurisdiction of Compton Creek Mosquito Abatement District (CMAD). The authorities are currently working together to determine the extent to which the Zika-carrying mosquitoes have spread.
They have also devised specific traps for the adult Aedes aegypti and their eggs to stop the spread of these species in the region. These traps have been deployed in the locations where the mosquitoes were discovered and also in some surrounding areas.
“Our goal is to control this mosquito population. We are doing everything to ensure this mosquito does not become established or thrive in our communities,” City Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis said.
DHSS workers were also handing out educational material regarding the mosquito-borne viruses to residents and are working together with them to identify and eliminate any possible mosquito breeding grounds in Long Beach.
How To Avoid Infection From Zika Virus
Zika infections can be detrimental for pregnant mothers. Not only does the virus affect the mother, but it also wreaks havoc on the fetus. The Zika virus is known to cause several cognitive disorders in the unborn child and can even lead to Guillain Barre Syndrome. This is why it becomes essential to take precautions against Zika, so that it does not infect a single person in any region. Here are some of the ways in which Zika infection can be avoided.
The World Health Organization recommends pregnant women against traveling to Zika-infected areas. However, this may not always be possible and some mothers may be residing in high-risk Zika virus areas.
Secondly, people need to ensure that there are no stagnant water bodies in the vicinity of their residence. Such water breeds mosquitoes, which may then infect others with the Zika virus they are carrying. Flower pots are another thing to be wary of. People living in high-risk zones should ensure that the content of these pots is frequently cleared.
People can also protect themselves by wearing the right clothes. For instance, tight-fitted, dark-colored clothes should be avoided, as mosquitoes can easily bite through these. Instead, light-colored, loose-fitted clothing is better and would provide greater protection against mosquito bites.
Lastly, people should apply approved bug repellents whenever possible to ensure that Zika-carrying mosquitoes cannot bite them. It is, however, important to stick to a product which has been registered to the Environmental Protection Agency.
These precautions would go a long way in preventing the Zika virus from spreading in a community. There are currently no cases of local transmission of the virus in California. However, Long Beach authorities are still asking residents to report any unusual number of mosquitoes.
[Featured Image by narvikk/iStockphoto]