ESCONDIDO, Calif. – The county of San Diego’s occasional precautionary spraying for mosquitoes to prevent an outbreak of the Zika virus will move to the North County for the first time on Thursday.
An Escondido neighborhood, where a resident contracted Zika while traveling, will be sprayed to get rid of the invasive Aedes mosquitoes, which can spread the disease, according to the county.
The area to be hand-sprayed is roughly 17 acres in size, includes 109 residential units and is bordered by El Norte Parkway on the south and Rimrock Road, which loops around to the north.
This is the eighth time since the middle of August that the county will have sprayed in a neighborhood where someone was sickened with Zika. The idea is to prevent a mosquito from biting the infected person, and spreading the disease to the Aedes mosquito population, which could get more people sick.
So far, no infected Aedes mosquitoes have been found in the San Diego region, and all local cases of Zika have resulted from travel to areas where the disease is prevalent, according to county health officials.
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 San Diego neighborhoods of South Park in August; in Mount Hope, Normal Heights, Grant Hill and Skyline in September; and Lemon Grove and Chula Vista last month.
The pesticide used by the county, Pyrenone 25-5, is derived from chrysanthemums. 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 ask that residents prevent mosquito breeding by removing standing water, and reporting Aedes mosquito activity. The type is different from native mosquitoes in that they prefer to be in or around homes and bite in daylight.