Reports of Increased Mosquito Activity Raise Concern

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By Elizabeth Mendia
Kern Valley Sun

The Bakersfield based media has been abuzz with news of increased mosquito activity in Kern County, with headlines like “New species of mosquito arrives in Kern County,” according to KGET, or “Mosquito activity at a high in Kern County, health officials warn” according to turnto23.com.

“Phone calls have been pouring in to the Kern Mosquito and Vector Control District at 10 times the rate of last year,” said Bakersfield.com.

But is this a growing concern in the Kern River Valley? No. Not currently, according to Paul Coburn, manager and field operator with the South Fork Mosquito Abatement District.

Coburn, who retired after 30 years as the superintendent of the Kern Vector Control District, was hired by the South Fork Mosquito Abatement District to work with local ranchers and residents along South Fork to keep our local mosquito population at bay.

“I spray to keep several different types of mosquitoes under control,” said Coburn, who said that a particular type of mosquito that breeds when flood irrigation on ranches occurs was of particular concern. “They’re very aggressive and will bite during the daytime,” he said, adding that if that particular type of mosquito was not controlled “you wouldn’t be able to go outdoors.”

However, the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which has garnered the attention of the Bakersfield press and, according to Coburn is also known as the “yellow fever mosquito” for its ability to carry that disease along with chikungunya, dengue, zika, and other diseases, has not made a significant appearance in the Kern River Valley. “We would know if it becomes a problem,” Coburn said.

Coburn asked to remind residents that eliminating sources of standing water, including water in unused tires, saucers under planters, and buckets, along with maintaining screen doors closed at dusk and in good repair are the keys to controlling outbreaks in residential areas.

“Residents of the District can always call my work phone,” he said, which is 760-223-3645. Residents in other areas of the Kern River Valley with concerns or questions about mosquito activity should contact the Kern County Public Health Department at (661) 321-3000 or by email at publichealth@kerncounty.com.