While the current Zika Virus epidemics in the world are mostly being advanced by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, scientists are studying which other mosquito species are able to transmit the virus. They have confirmed the Aedes Albopictus (Asian Tiger) mosquito as a vector, but there are many more mosquito species still in question. With nearly 3,000 types of mosquitoes throughout the world, North Carolina is home to over 60 different kinds. And with 10-15 species that affect people and pets, we may be more susceptible to Zika virus exposure than we think.
The Trouble with Identification
The Zika Virus is a prolific and dangerous mosquito-borne disease in that it can be transmitted from human to mosquito, and mosquitoes can reproduce, passing on the virus to their offspring, at an exponential rate. Like malaria, this can cause a fast spreading regional epidemic. With international travel being what it is today (especially if we find other mosquito species capable of carrying Zika), all it takes is a few travelers bringing Zika to the U.S. to cause a rapid regional spread of disease. More research is being done. The onset of mosquito season will determine what may or may not happen in North Carolina. We will continue to share with you any new information.
Can the Zika Virus be Found in the Culex Mosquito?
Researchers in Brazil have discovered mosquitoes from the Culex family are capable of being infected and carrying the Zika virus. The Culex family is more prevalent in the United States and the world. These scientists say the mosquitoes can also reproduce Zika in the salivary glands which is necessary for being able to transmit the virus to people.
What Comes Next?
We wait for additional research to discover if the Culex mosquito is becoming infected with the Zika virus in nature. If they are determined to be a vector for Zika, the mosquito control methods being employed by government and world agencies may need to be altered. The difference in mosquito behavior in the environment is key to eliminating mosquitoes and slowing the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses. While the currently known vectors in the Aedes family are aggressive day feeders that like fresh water, the Culex family feed at dawn & dusk and primarily like stagnate or sewage water. What does this mean? This means Colombia and Brazil may start using bed nets to slow the spread of Zika by Culex mosquitoes. It also means they will have to begin treating sewage water with a larvicide as well as the treatment of clean standing water.
The Culex mosquito is not the only family of mosquito species we need to worry about. It is evidence of what ongoing research may still find out about the next breed researched. We want you and your family to stay protected. If you are interested in receiving mosquito treatments this summer, please give us a call. We are happy to help in any way we can.
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