Watch CBS News

Sacramento officials warn of West Nile, Zika viruses during anticipated surge of summer mosquitoes

Officials warn of surge in summer mosquitoes in Sacramento
Officials warn of surge in summer mosquitoes in Sacramento 02:44

SACRAMENTO — More mosquitos are making their way into the Sacramento region, and experts warn a summer surge of the insects could be dangerous.

As people head outdoors this warm Memorial Day Weekend, there's a concern that many could get bit by mosquitos.

"They're in the house. Their outside. They're everywhere," said Arianna Norman, who was bitten by mosquitoes on Friday.

Norman said that she already has several itchy bites.

Mosquito control officials say we could see more insects this summer due to the late spring storms.

"That combination of the rain and the hot temperatures is what creates the ideal mosquito breeding conditions," said Luz Maria Robles, a spokesperson for the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District.

Sacramento is seeing a sharp increase in the number of people diagnosed with West Nile Virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes.

Last year, there were 53 human cases compared to just five the previous year, and hundreds more may have gone undiagnosed.

The Rosemont neighborhood west of Rancho Cordova has been a hotspot in the last year for a species of non-native mosquitoes that bite during the day and pose a significant health threat.

"They have the capability of transmitting several diseases such as Zika, dengue, chikungunya, diseases that we don't typically see here"," Maria Robles said.

Now, the mosquito district is considering a new plan to eliminate the pests. It actually involves letting loose thousands of male mosquitos that have been sterilized with radiation and don't bite.

"They'll then mate with the females and then the progeny is no good because the males are sterilized," said Gary Goodman, manager of the mosquito control district.

Goodman said that similar programs have been successful in Fresno and parts of Southern California.

"We think that it's going to be a very viable opportunity, possibly this year or hopefully next year," he said.

However, not everyone is convinced it will work.

Officials say people should drain any stagnate water sources in their yards and wear mosquito repellant when going outdoors.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.