EUGENE, Ore. — As the rainy season comes to an end and the weather warms up, mosquitoes come out.
This summer, Oregon is paying close attention to see if one type of mosquito in particular makes its way north.
“Aedes aegypti is a scary mosquito. It’s a mosquito that loves people. It’s kind of like a Yellow Labrador Retriever. They just love to be around people all the time,” Dr. Pat Luedtke, the Chief Medical Officer for Lane County, said.
The Aedes Aegypti is the mosquito known to carry Zika virus, once only found in the tropics.
“It has moved up to parts of nevada just recently so it’s getting closer to oregon. so we’re not at risk right now but we’re starting to be concerned that gosh, we need better surveillance so we know what’s in our state,” Dr. Luedtke said.
State officials plan to monitor for the Aedes Aegypti this summer just to be proactive.
As an example, health officials say someone could get Zika in South America, and bring it back to Oregon.
Right now, the mosquitos we have here couldn’t transmit that virus, “but if we all of a sudden got this interesting mosquito, Aedes Aegypti here, and it bit that person, that mosquito could then get Zika and spread it all around our community,” Dr. Luedtke said.
That’s what happened in Florida and Texas last year, so it is possible.
“That’s kind of the nightmare scenario. and once the mosquitoes are living here, then you have to deal with it year after year after year,” he said.
Because mosquitoes multiply rapidly.
“Even a bottle cap turned the right side up and holding a few drops of water, they can lay their eggs and they can reproduce around the house,” Dr. Luedtke said.
Officials say Zika-infested or not, it’s always best to take preventative measures when it comes to mosquitoes, like wearing repellent and getting rid of standing water, just to be safe.