Yellow fever mosquito detected in Kern County

Yellow fever mosquito detected in Kern County »Play Video
A yellow fever mosquito is seen in a photo from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

ARVIN, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - A yellow fever mosquito has been detected in Arvin.

Monday, the mosquito was found in one of the mosquito traps set up by Kern Mosquito & Vector Control.

The Public Health Services Department said the mosquito, the Aedes aegypti, is not native to California. Instead, it is usually found in the Caribbean, and recently in Florida.

The insect is a carrier of diseases such as dengue, yellow fever and chikungunya. It is not yet clear whether or not the mosquito that was found had any infections or diseases.

According to the county health department, one local person was diagnosed with chikungunya. Another person was diagnosed with dengue. Both people contracted their diseases while traveling outside of Kern County, but, with mosquito-borne diseases like these present, the yellow fever mosquito can transmit them quickly once it bites someone who is infected.

The yellow fever mosquito is small, dark and has white markings with banded legs, according to the county health department. The mosquito might be active during dusk and dawn but most often bites during the day and often indoors.

"They enjoy biting mammals, especially humans," said Robert Quiring, director of Kern Mosquito & Vector Control.  "They can breed, lay eggs in small containers, so it's important that people check their backyards, and if they find a container with water that they dump it, at least once a week."

The health department asked residents to eliminate standing water, make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens and make use of insect repellents.

Last year, more of these mosquitoes were detected in cities like Fresno, Madera and Clovis. None of the mosquitoes had any trace of disease.

"We want to recognize not only the prevention and protection we need to do for ourselves, but make sure that we're doing proper protection for children and elderly that may need our assistance," said Dr. Claudia Jonah, health officer for Kern County.

If you are bit by a suspected yellow fever mosquito, call the local mosquito or vector control district. For Bakersfield and the surrounding area, that number is (661) 589-2744.