New technicians and new zones
This month, we welcomed two new vector control technicians to our team. Justin has worked with the District in various roles since 2016; Vanessa has a background in envrionmental health. We are glad to have them on our team!
Every few years, our staff rotate their coverage zones; the start of this month was time for one of our zone changes. You may see a different friendly face in your neighborhood. You can see the new technician for your area here.
Tick Collecting and Outreach
Laboratory staff continued winter surveillance for adult western black-legged ticks (Ixodes pacificus) in February. Ticks are collected by dragging a one-meter square sheet of white flannel over the vegetation alongside trails, using a technique called “flagging.” The ticks will be tested for the presence of Borrelia burgdorferi, the pathogen responsible for Lyme disease, as well as other disease causing bacteria, Borrelia miyamotoi and Anaplasma phagocytophilum.
In addition to our usual tick collections, our staff have been conducting tick-bite prevention educational outreach to scout groups, parks and open space staff, and others in outdoor environments. Presentations are tailored to each audience and can include an interactive activity teaching how to choose a safe and effective repellent. If your group would like a tick-bite prevention talk, please reach out to our Public Health Education and Outreach Officer, Rachel Curtis-Robles (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Culex pipiens abundance was higher than average this February (average of 8.5 mosquitoes per night of trapping compared to a five-year average of 1.0 mosquito per night of trapping). The elevated numbers of Culex pipiens were from a source at a water treatment plant in Redwood Shores, combined with unusually warm temperatures. The mosquito breeding source is now under control. All other abundances are low and close to the five-year average. Read more about mosquito surveillance here.
This February, 141 larval samples were collected in the field by vector control technicians and submitted to the lab. A District vector control technician uses a dipper to take a sample of the water and visually inspects it for mosquito larvae. If larvae are present, the technician transports the sample to the laboratory for counts and identification. Read more about mosquito surveillance here.
The most common service requests in February 2022 were for mosquito issues and rodent.
West Nile Virus
West Nile virus activity is generally very low during the winter months. For up-to-date information about West Nile virus in California during the winter, visit CDPH's website.