Mosquitoes normally found in tropical climates have been found in York County, potentially able to transmit such diseases as yellow fever and the Zika virus.
The risk of these infections to local residents is low, and also dependent on the presence or arrival of an infected individual in the area, said Dr. Tom Safranek, State Epidemiologist for DHHS.
However, officials are surprised to find this particular type of mosquito species in Nebraska, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday.
The species of mosquito is called Aedes aegypti. They are common in more tropical climates and have been known to transmit such diseases as chikungunya and dengue, in addition to Zika and yellow fever.
The Aedes aegypti were found in a mosquito trap, the DHHS said. Health officials routinely trap mosquitos to track and monitor West Nile virus carrying mosquitoes in the state.
The Aedes aegypti bites primarily in the daytime and only feeds on people. It can only fly about 500 feet.
Safranek said the transmission of these pathogens would require a person currently infected with such a disease to be bitten by an Aedes aegypti mosquito, and then that mosquito would need to bite another uninfected person.
The insects were likely imported into the state, hatching from eggs that were attached to something that was brought to York County, HHS officials told the Lincoln Journal Star.
“Four Corners Health Department is working closely with DHHS and vector-borne disease specialists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding control of these mosquitoes and risk reduction approaches,” said Laura McDougall, Executive Director of Four Corners Health Department.
DHHS urges precaution.
• Many prevention methods that work for other types of mosquitoes also apply to the Aedes aegypti, including:
• Dumping or draining any standing water around the home. Standing water and warm weather breed mosquitoes.
• Throw away containers or objects that can hold water or cover them to prevent water from accumulating inside.
• Wear mosquito repellent when you go outside. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 and some lemon eucalyptus, and para-menthane-diol products.
• Dress in long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks when you’re outside.
Meanwhile, the city of North Platte announced Tuesday it will spray for mosquitoes from Sept. 17-19. Treatment will begin at 8 p.m. and end around midnight. See the full schedule on the Bulletin’s front page.
For more about the Zika virus, click HERE.
For more about yellow fever, click HERE.
For more about chikungunya, click HERE.
For more about dengue, click HERE.