The threat of Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases has made its way to Long Beach, California after public health officials discovered potential carriers in the area for the first time.
The city's Department of Health and Human Services announced on Monday, June 19, that virus-carrying Aedes aegypti have been found in North Long Beach. The mosquitoes have been detected in other areas in Southern California before, but the report marks the first instance the species was found in Long Beach.
Officials are now working to determine how far the disease-carrying mosquitoes have already spread in the city. Several mosquito traps have also been set in the area to contain their movement.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said they are encouraging residents and visitors of the city to take all necessary safety precautions to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes.
Residents can also contact the city's Zika hotline at (562) 570-7907 to report any further sightings of Ae. aegypti mosquitoes in their neighborhood.
How To Spot An Aedes Aegypti Mosquito
There are two types of mosquitoes known to spread viral diseases: the Aedes aegypti and the Aedes albopictus. Of these two, the Ae. aegypti is the most commonly associated with Zika, dengue, and chikungunya diseases.
The Ae. aegypti can easily be recognized through the characteristic white markings on their legs. They also have a marking on the upper surface of their thorax that resembles a lyre. These mosquitoes are typically found in tropical and subtropical parts of the world, and are active primarily during the daytime.
How To Prevent Mosquito Bites
One of the best ways to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes is by applying insect repellents approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. These products have been proven effective against disease-carrying mosquitoes and safe even for pregnant and breastfeeding women. The key is to follow the product label instructions and to reapply the insect repellent as directed to make sure you are protected from mosquito bites.
Another way is to wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when going outside. You can also try wearing clothes and gear that have been treated with insect-repelling permethrin to increase the level of protection.
It is also important to control the spread of disease-carrying mosquitoes both inside and outside your home. You can add screen on windows and doors to prevent insects from getting indoors. Make sure to check for holes in your screens and repair them if you find any to keep your home safe from pests.
Try to use air conditioning for your home when it's available. If you're staying in a room without air conditioning or screens, or if you're sleeping outdoors, you can also use a mosquito bed net to protect yourself from insect bites.
You might also want to do some general cleaning in your home and yard. Make sure to regularly empty any item that can hold water, such as buckets, tires, planters, flowerpots, trash bins, and birdbaths. You should also check your rain gutters and lawn drains for any stagnant water that mosquitoes could use to lay eggs in.
If you notice mosquitoes in your home, try using indoor insect foggers or indoor insect sprays to kill them and treat areas where they gather to rest. These insects can often be found in dark, humid places such as under the kitchen sink, under furniture, and in closets.