Laboratory Updates

Overview

Laboratory Updates

The District laboratory staff maintains this section monthly with updates on disease surveillance, research, and other laboratory projects.

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Invasive Aedes surveillance in summer 2020

The District conducts intensive surveillance for invasive Aedes mosquitoes during the summer months. The surveillance program mainly targets two container-breeding species, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, which have been increasing their range within California over the last several years. This summer, Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus were detected for the first time in Shasta County. The presence of these mosquitoes is highly undesirable because they are aggressive human biters and also transmit diseases including dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika.

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West Nile Virus Update for August 2020

San Mateo County

As of August 31, 2020, there have been 140 dead birds reported in San Mateo County. Of those, 38 have been suitable for testing and all 38 have tested negative for West Nile virus (WNV). No mosquito pools or sentinel chickens have been confirmed positive for West Nile virus in San Mateo County in 2020.

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West Nile Virus Update for July 2020

San Mateo County

As of August 4, 2020, there have been 120 dead birds reported in San Mateo County. Of those, 38 have been suitable for testing and all 38 have tested negative for West Nile virus (WNV). To date, there have been no confirmed West Nile virus detections in mosquitoes or sentinel chickens in San Mateo County in 2020.

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West Nile Virus Updates – June 2020

San Mateo County

As of June 30, 2020, there have been 95 dead birds reported in San Mateo County. Of those, 29 have been suitable for testing and all 29 have tested negative for West Nile virus (WNV). No mosquito pools or sentinel chickens have tested positive for West Nile virus in San Mateo County in 2020.

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Local Digger Bee

Beaches are popular among San Mateo County residents this summer, including our local bees. District staff responded to a request in June to identify bees nesting on a beach in Pacifica that were flying in and out of small holes in the sand. 

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Mosquito Spotlight: Orthopodomyia signifera

The District works to control mosquitoes in our county because they are disease vectors and aggressive biting pests. However, there are several mosquito species that are not known to bite people. One of these infrequently-encountered mosquitoes is called Orthopodomyia signifera. It breeds in the holes of trees that hold water year-round and feeds exclusively on birds.

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West Nile Virus Update – May 2020

San Mateo County

As of May 31, 2020, there have been 68 dead birds reported in San Mateo County. Of those, 23 have been suitable for testing and all 23 have tested negative for West Nile virus (WNV). No mosquito pools or sentinel chickens have tested positive for West Nile virus in San Mateo County in 2020.

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Tick Surveillance Update for Water Year 2019-2020
April 2020 Update

During early March, laboratory staff continued surveillance for adult Ixodes pacificus (Western black-legged ticks). Ticks are collected by dragging a 1 meter square sheet of white flannel over the vegetation alongside trails. Ixodes pacificus ticks will be tested for the presence of bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, as well as Borrelia miyamotoi and Anaplasma phagocytophilum.

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Tick Surveillance Update for Water Year 2019-2020
March 2020 Update

During February, laboratory staff continued surveillance for adult Ixodes pacificus (Western black-legged ticks). Ticks are collected by dragging a 1 meter square sheet of white flannel over the vegetation alongside trails. Ixodes pacificus ticks will be tested for the presence of bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, as well as Borrelia miyamotoi and Anaplasma phagocytophilum.

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Studying Mosquito Parasites

District staff are assisting in a collaborative study on a mosquito parasite that is spearheaded by researchers from Stanford University and the University of Innsbruck in Austria. The parasite is a ciliate type of protozoa, Lambornella clarki, which is a single-celled animal that lives in water. Lambornella clarki is found in water that collects in tree holes, and can enter the body of the mosquito larvae of Aedes sierrensis, the western tree-hole mosquito. Inside the mosquito larvae, it multiplies and kills the hosts.

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2020 Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California Annual Meeting

On January 26-29, the Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California (MVCAC) held their annual meeting in San Diego. District laboratory staff presented on some of the projects they conducted during the previous year.

The SMCMVCD Laboratory presented three scientific posters at MVCAC:

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Tick Surveillance Update for Water Year 2019-2020
January 2020 Update

Laboratory staff began winter surveillance for adult Ixodes pacificus (Western black-legged ticks) in December. Ticks are collected by dragging a 1 meter square piece of white flannel over the vegetation alongside trails. Ixodes pacificus ticks will be tested for the presence of bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, as well as Borrelia miyamotoi and Anaplasma phagocytophilum.

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West Nile Virus Update – December 2019

San Mateo County

In the 2019 calendar year, the District closed out one of its lowest seasons for West Nile virus activity since the virus first appeared in San Mateo County in 2004.  No virus was detected in the county this year in any of the standard WNV surveillance indicators.

Surveillance Factor

Previous 10-year average (2009-2018)

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West Nile Virus Update – November 2019

San Mateo County

As of December 1, 2019, there have been 231 dead birds reported in San Mateo County. Of those, 57 have been suitable for testing and all have tested negative for West Nile virus (WNV). No mosquito pools or sentinel chickens have tested positive for West Nile virus in San Mateo County in 2019.

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West Nile Virus Update – Ocotober 2019

San Mateo County

As of November 1, 2019, there have been 215 dead birds reported in San Mateo County. Of those, 53 have been suitable for testing and all 53 have tested negative for West Nile virus (WNV). No mosquito pools or sentinel chickens have tested positive for West Nile virus in San Mateo County in 2019.

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West Nile Virus Update – September 2019

San Mateo County

As of October 2, 2019, there have been 191 dead birds reported in San Mateo County. Of those, 44 have been suitable for testing and all 44 have tested negative for West Nile virus (WNV). No mosquito pools or sentinel chickens have tested positive for West Nile virus in San Mateo County in 2019.

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Catch Basin Treatment Evaluation

This summer, the District participated in a collaborative study to evaluate a new formulation of methoprene, a biorational mosquito larvicide, in catch basins.  While District mosquito control operations has used methoprene products for many years as part of its Integrated Pest Management program (IPM), this collaborative effort introduced our staff to new sampling and testing methods specific to catch basin/storm drain applications.  Instead of using traditional cup-shaped dippers to collect water samples, District staff used fish nets attached to long poles to sampl

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Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus (EEEV) making you EEEk this Halloween?

Eastern equine encephalitis virus, often termed EEEV or Triple-E, has been making headlines lately in the United States. This mosquito-borne virus can cause a sometimes-fatal brain infection. With 31 cases and 9 deaths this year to date, this is the worst outbreak of EEEV disease since the US began monitoring the disease 15 years ago. While those numbers sound scary, EEEV disease is relatively rare.  An average of 7 human cases of EEEV disease are diagnosed in the United States annually.

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Tick Testing Results for August 2019

Every year the District collects ticks from recreational areas in the county to assess the risk of tick-borne disease. One way to measure this is by determining the minimum infection prevalence (MIP), which estimates what percentage of these ticks are expected to be carrying a given disease agent in a population.

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West Nile Virus Update – August 2019

San Mateo County

As of September 3, 2019, there have been 179 dead birds reported in San Mateo County. Of those, 38 have been suitable for testing and all 38 have tested negative for West Nile virus (WNV). No mosquito pools or sentinel chickens have tested positive for West Nile virus in San Mateo County in 2019.

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