A Native American Mosquito Can Transmit Zika Virus

The only mosquitoes in this country that we knew were capable of transmitting the dangerous Zika virus were Aedes aegypti (the yellow fever mosquito) and Aedes albopictus (the Asian tiger mosquito). These mosquitoes are both more common in warmer, southern areas of the country (although the Asian tiger mosquito is found in some northern states as well), and both invaded from other parts of the world.

So it was a surprise that a study just published in the Journal of Medical Entomology proved that one of our primary native mosquitoes can also transmit Zika virus. Aedes vexans (known as the Inland Floodwater Mosquito) is actually the most abundant mosquito in most areas of the country. It could potentially transmit the virus in northern areas where the other mosquitoes aren’t found.

The research was conducted in laboratory tests, so it remains to be seen how dangerous this mosquito is in actually transmitting the virus in outdoor conditions.

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