5th neighborhood sprayed in fight against Zika

SAN DIEGO - A Skyline neighborhood was sprayed Thursday after mosquitoes capable of carrying tropical diseases were discovered near the home of a person who contracted the Zika virus while traveling.

Spraying was postponed from Wednesday to Thursday due to inclement weather.

The county has conducted several precautionary hand-spraying recently after Aedes mosquitoes were discovered near residences of people suffering from Zika.

“What  we’re looking to do is get in here today and try and spray and knock down and kill those mosquitoes,” said Chris Conlan, Supervising Vector Ecologist.  “So then those mosquitoes can’t go on and bite someone else locally and transmit a case.”

The spray area in Skyline is bordered by Noeline Place on the north side, Parkbrook Way on the east, Parkbrook Street on the south, and Parkbrook Place on the west.

Like other local victims, the Skyline resident contracted Zika while traveling. The Zika virus came to light earlier this year when some infected pregnant women gave birth to babies with microcephaly, which causes an infant's head and brain to be smaller than normal. Around 20 percent of people who contract Zika actually get sick.

“There are about 200 cases of imported Zika virus in the state of California,” said Dr. Eric McDonald, Deputy Public Health Officer.  “About 40 of those cases are in San Diego.”

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 during aerial spraying 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.

“This is a one time application of a safe chemical in ultra low volume right where the mosquitoes live,” said Dr. McDonald.  “We’re not spraying people, we’re not spraying homes, we’re spraying where mosquitoes live outside.”

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. Conlan also reminded residents to help control mosquitoes themselves.

“These invasive mosquitoes like to use small sources of water that are typically found in people’s backyards, both inside and outside the home,” said Conlan.  “So any anything people can do to either cover or dump out the standing water sources will go a long way to dropping down mosquitoes populations.”

`Especially after the recent rains that we've had, the most important thing people can do is collect trash around their house, and look for any standing water around their yard,'' said McDonald.

“We don’t want to get into the situation where we’ve got a locally acquired case of Zika, so it’s important we wipe out any chances,” said Conlan.

The Aedes mosquitoes have several differences from their native counterparts -- they're smaller, can be found inside homes and like to feed during the day instead of dawn and dusk.