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AZ officials keep close eye on mosquito capable of transmitting Yellow Fever

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Aedes Aegypt mosquitos have been in Arizona for about the past decade.

However, they're new to California, and Maricopa County Environmental Services wants to make sure no dangerous diseases start spreading throughout the population.

"Because they like to feed on humans, (Aedes Aegypt) mosquitos tend to spread diseases that go back and forth from humans like Yellow Fever," said John Townsend, the Vector Control Division Manager for Maricopa County Environmental Services. 

The small pests are known commonly as "ankle biters" since they're extremely small and usually focus their attack on those areas.

They have been known to be in Arizona for the past 10 years. California has began to spot them in some northern counties, and now officials are trying to eradicate them before they spread.

In Arizona, officials are doing this same.

"This is a carbon monoxide trap," explained Townsend, pointing to a device made out of a thermos and fan.

"Mosquitos comes in, and there is a fan in here. As they fly around, they get sucked in here and pushed into the bag," he continued.

Then the bugs are tested in a lab to see if they are positive for any type of disease.

"Not every mosquito out there is carrying some kind of disease, but there is a possibility," said Townsend.

Though it's unlikely these mosquitos will carry diseases like Yellow Fever, if someone who travels overseas contracts the illness, it could spread easily by the tiny bugs.

Townsend says the best way to prevent the spread of these mosquitoes is to eliminate even small amounts of water from your property.

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