Public Health Officials in California Warn Of Rare, Locally-Acquired, Mosquito-Borne Virus

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Jared Stokes Contributor
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A rare mosquito-born virus has been discovered in Pasadena, California, according to a Friday press release by the Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD).

The virus, known as dengue, has until now never been locally-acquired, and is usually found outside of the United States in countries with more humid climates that are home to the Aedes mosquito, such as the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the Pacific Islands, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This Pasadena case has been confirmed as the first one in California not associated with travel, an extremely rare local case of local transmission, per the press release.

The PPHD told residents that risk of infection is very low, as it is not contagious, but standard precautions are effective for preventing spread. In addition to the PPHD sending surveillance and field teams to a Pasadena neighborhood to provide information to the locals, the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District deployed traps to evaluate the current mosquito population.

The testing to date has not identified any dengue-infected mosquitos, but testing will continue over the next few weeks, according to the PPHD statement

The standard precautions that the PPHD has recommended to the public are as follows: Eliminate standing water in clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, discarded tires, buckets, watering troughs, or anything that holds water for more than a week; ensure that swimming pools, spas, and ponds are properly maintained; change the water in pet dishes, birdbaths, and other small containers weekly; and report neglected swimming pools in your neighborhood to your vector control district.

In addition, they recommend applying insect repellent containing CDC and Enviromental Protection Agency approved active ingredients such as DEET®, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus, as well as wearing loosely fitted, light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants. per the statement. (RELATED: CDC Issues Health Alert Over Recent Cases Of Disease Last Seen 20 Years Ago)

“Pasadena is working with healthcare providers to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of dengue infection and is coordinating prevention efforts with local and state public health officials,” stated Interim Health Officer, Dr. Parveen Kaur. “Eliminating mosquito breeding sources is essential to reducing the spread of mosquitoes and the diseases they carry.”