Another Type of Mosquito May Carry Zika

Barsaba Taglieri
Aprile 21, 2017

The State of Florida needs some rain to help reduce dozens of wildfires burning across the state, but standing water provides an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes, which can spread the Zika virus.

UF/IFAS entomology associate professor Chelsea Smartt led a research team that found Zika RNA in Aedes albopictus. So, Smartt set her sights on tracking down Zika-infected mosquitoes in Camacari, Brazil, near the Atlantic coast. To try to avoid mosquito bites, scientists and public health professionals urge people to stay indoors or wear long-sleeve shirts and trousers if they're outdoors, especially during the day, when mosquitoes that might transmit the Zika virus are more likely to bite.

For the study, the researchers collected mosquitoes from Brazil and let them reproduce in a lab.

The first USA trial of genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes - the kind that carries Zika and dengue fever - is still on track for the Keys, just not on Key Haven. Further commenting via a new release from the Entomological Society of America, the author said that Aedes albopictus may be involved in transmission of Zika virus and is a concern for public health.

Smartt and her team collected Aedes albopictus eggs from homes in Brazil and then hatched them in a Florida lab; the hatched eggs resulted in 20 female and 10 male adult Asian tiger mosquitoes.

"These results are important because they are the first to show that Aedes albopictus can be infected with Zika virus RNA. this study found Zika virus RNA in male mosquitoes, which we can infer also means the Zika virus RNA came from the mother. If you're pregnant, they have free assessments and testing for every pregnant woman, for you to find out if you have Zika", Scott said.

Now comes the disturbing news that a second type of mosquito common in Florida, the Aedes albopictus, also can carry Zika.

In a recent research finding, traces of genetic material of Zika virus have been found in another mosquito species.

The Zika virus, once an explosive disease in many parts of the world, including the U.S. Virgin Islands, has lost much of its momentum in the territory, but the virus continues to affect residents - with 4 pregnant women confirmed to be infected week-over-week, bringing the total count for confirmed pregnant women to 223, according to the Department of Health's latest report.

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