Presence of mosquito species sparks Zika fears

The Aedes aegypti species of mosquito was recently discovered in Grand County. It can potentially carry the Zika virus and yellow and Dengue fever, prompting Moab Mosquito Abatement District Manager Libby Nance to implore residents to empty or drain all standing water on their property. Photo courtesy of Muhammad Mahdi Karim/Wikipedia

Moab Mosquito Abatement District Manager Libby Nance is warning residents to drain or dump standing water on their property due to the presence in Grand County of a new invasive mosquito known as Aedes aegypti, or the “yellow fever mosquito,” which can carry the Zika virus and yellow and dengue fever.

A spokesperson for the Southeast Utah Health Department related to the issue noted that there is, at this time, “no indication that any of these diseases are present in the local population.”

The spokesperson added that the health department would “work with all of the local health care providers and community partners to properly plan for and recognize these diseases should they be introduced into our community at some point in the future.”

Here is Nance’s press release in its entirety:

Citizens of Grand County:

This is Libby, from the Moab Mosquito Abatement District.

This PSA is re: a potentially serious new invasive mosquito species to Moab, now here – it is named Aedes aegypti, (pronounced: A’-deez uh jip’ tie, the common name is: the yellow fever mosquito) , it is a vector of Zika virus, yellow fever, dengue fever, etc.

We need your help, please.

  1. Please drain or dump any and all standing water on your property.
  2. If you need to provide water for your animals, please do your very best to empty every day and refill.
  3. If you need help, ask a neighbor, a friend, a relative – please do a search of your entire property for any standing water and dump it.
  4. There is a 20-40% chance of rain today, which will complicate things for all of us if it amounts to any standing water.
  5. Aedes aegypti, prefers to lay her eggs in what we call urban or suburban “micro-habitats”.
    Examples of microhabitats in Moab are:
    • outdoor plants with pans under them that collect water
    • leaky swamp coolers (yes, up in the roof pans too)
    • scummy chicken water/animal water
    • water that could collect in trash or garbage
    • when they had their Aedes aegypti outbreak in Miami – those folks had to deal with microhabitats such as bottle caps, snail shells, outdoor bromeliad plants – fortunately, our dry climate helps us with this!
  6. Please stay tuned to The Times-Independent, Moab Sun News and local TV stations for more updates.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are getting involved as soon as the Utah Department of Health formally invites them to help us – they (CDC) are standing by.

Thank you,