Bug Blog

Dengue Concerns Prompt County to Issue Mosquito Prevention

YumaSun.com (Yuma, AZ): Dengue Concerns Prompt County to Issue Mosquito Prevention Tips

The appearance in San Luis, Ariz., of a mosquito that can carry dengue plus confirmed cases of the illness in Mexico has prompted the Yuma County Health Department to issue tips to the public for preventing the spread of the insects.

Mosquitoes breed in standing water, say health officials, and residents can go a long way to curb them by emptying or removing receptacles in their yards that can trap water.

Eggs of Aedes aegypti, a mosquito variety that can carry dengue, were found in mosquito samples collected last month in San Luis, Ariz., by the Yuma County Pest Abatement District.

There have been at least four confirmed cases of humans contracting dengue in San Luis Rio Colorado, Son., although county health department officials say no cases so far have been reported on this side of the border. Humans contract dengue from bites by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that got it from biting from other, already infected humans.

“San Luis (Rio Colorado) has identified cases of dengue, so we’re just trying to be proactive,” said Maria Nunez, deputy director of the health department.

Whether they are dengue carriers or of other varieties, mosquitoes need standing water to lay their eggs, health officials say, and even a small puddle is sufficient for breeding.

The arrival of cooler temperatures does not necessarily make concerns about mosquitoes a moot point, said Joey Martinez, a vector control specialist for the health department.

“There can still be a risk,” he said. “As long as standing water doesn’t freeze, mosquitoes can still breed.”

He added that mosquitoes also can breed indoors, in drinking glasses and plant and flower vases filled with water, pet water dishes, and puddles from plumbing leaks

The department is offering these tips to the public for eliminating mosquitoes:

• Empty, remove or cover any receptacle in the yard that can contain water, particular discarded cans or bottles.

• Discard or move old tires that can trap water.

• Change the water in flower or plant vases twice a week.

• Screen or cover rain barrels and openings to water tanks.

• Repair leaky plumbing and outside faucets.

• Clean clogged rain gutters.

• Change the water in bird baths twice a week.

• Stock ornamental ponds with mosquito fish.