HEMET (CBSLA.com) — A mosquito breed capable of carrying and transmitting yellow fever and the Zika virus was netted in Hemet, Riverside County health officials reported Wednesday.
According to the Department of Environmental Health, an Aedes aegypti specimen was pulled from a vector-control trap Monday near Johnston Avenue and Yale Street, on the south end of the city.
Department spokeswoman Dotti Merki said the little black-and-white mosquitoes, which prefer to feed on prey during the day, have the potential to spread Zika, Chikungunya and dengue, also known as “yellow fever.”
“While these viruses are not currently transmitted in California, there is a potential for them to be introduced into the state through infected international travelers,” Merki said. “In the presence of a large population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, a traveler who is a carrier and is bitten in California could become a source for transmitting a disease locally.”
Last year, the mosquito species were located in several locations in the western part of the county. However, there were no identified cases of dengue, Zika or Chikungunya that originated from local sources.
Coachella has been contending with infestations of the mosquitoes this summer, prompting insect spraying operations throughout the city. The breed has also been identified recently in parts of Riverside and Corona.
Zika usually results in mild fever, a rash, join pain and red eyes. Many people may not be aware they even have it, according to the CDC. Pregnant women are at highest risk, because their newborns can suffer exposure-related deformities.
Chikungunya also causes muscle pain and fever. Infants, as well as seniors with underlying medical disorders, are at highest risk of adverse effects.
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