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Scientists make concerning discovery about proliferation of invasive mosquitoes: 'Known for carrying viruses'

It is part of a concerning trend.

It is part of a concerning trend.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

There's bad news for residents of Santa Clara County, California: An invasive mosquito species "known for carrying the viruses that cause dengue and yellow fever" has been spotted in the South Bay, KRON 4 reported.

What's happening?

Six female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the type of mosquitoes known for spreading those diseases, were found in San Jose. Aedes aegypti were previously discovered in the area in 2022, but they were thought to have been eradicated.

Why is the spread of mosquitoes concerning?

Mosquito populations seem to be rising all over the world — and that's not a good thing. Mosquitoes thrive in hot and humid conditions. As our planet continues to overheat, largely as a result of our reliance on dirty energy sources such as gas and oil, the habitats in which mosquitoes can breed are expanding.

This has led to many more cases of mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue fever, yellow fever, Zika virus, and more.

Since the disease-carrying mosquitoes are reaching areas that were previously inhospitable to them, they are now infecting many populations that are unprepared to deal with these tropical diseases. 

Scientists from the University of Helsinki, for example, recently discovered a species of mosquito that had never before been seen in Finland. Although experts there do not believe that enough mosquitoes have made their way far enough north to cause any disease outbreaks, it is still part of a concerning trend.

What's being done about invasive mosquitoes?

In Santa Clara County, officials told residents that "it's important for residents in the area to allow district staff to access their properties to check for mosquitoes and treat them as needed." They added: "East San Jose residents should inspect their properties for sources of standing water that serve as breeding habitat for mosquitoes and remove them."

In other parts of the world, governments have had to take more extreme measures to deal with expanding mosquito populations. In Brazil and Djibouti, special genetically modified mosquitoes have been deployed to shorten the life span of the mosquitoes that spread the disease before they reach full maturity. Although this approach is somewhat controversial, it does have the clear benefit of not requiring any toxic pesticides.

In Peru, an ingenious little device called a Guardian Toad is being used (much less controversially) to disturb the surfaces of standing water containers where mosquitoes lay their eggs.

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