County’s proactive Zika mosquito spraying continues

 SAN DIEGO -- County vector control workers will head to a fourth neighborhood Monday morning to spray pesticide in an effort to kill mosquitoes discovered near the home of someone who contracted the Zika virus while traveling.

The affected area is in Grant Hill and is bordered by Dodson Street, K Street, J Street and Island Avenue. The area will be treated in an effort to prevent Zika from spreading to Aedes mosquitoes, which can transfer tropical diseases to humans.

So far, no infected Aedes mosquitoes have been found in the San Diego region or elsewhere in California, according to county health officials. All of the 30-plus local cases of Zika resulted from travel to areas where the disease is prevalent.

The Zika virus came to light earlier this year when some infected pregnant women gave birth to babies with microcephaly, which causes heads and brains to be smaller than normal. Around 20 percent of people who contract Zika actually get sick.

Pesticide was also sprayed in South Park last month, and last week in Mount Hope and Normal Heights.

The pesticide used by the county, Pyrenone 25-5, is derived from chrysanthemums and is not the same insecticide that killed millions of honeybees last week after aerial sprayings in Florida and in South Carolina. County officials say Pyrenone 25-5 poses low risks to people and pets and dissipates in roughly 20-30 minutes.

However, area residents who want to minimize their exposure can take precautionary steps, including:

-- staying inside and bringing pets indoors if possible;

-- closing doors and windows;

-- turning off fans that bring outdoor air inside the home;

-- covering ornamental fish ponds to avoid direct exposure;

-- rinsing fruits and vegetables from gardens with water before cooking or eating;

-- wiping down or covering outdoor items such as toys; and

-- covering barbecue grills.

County officials also issued a reminder to residents to help control mosquitoes themselves.

“We can't stress enough that it's very important for people to inspect in and around their homes and dump out any standing water so these mosquitoes can't breed,'' county Environmental Health Director Elise Rothschild said. “They can breed in the trays under flower pots, in holes in trees, toys in the yard that can collect sprinkler water -- anything that can collect water.''