As reported by ESA, a new study from researchers at the University of North Dakota found that Aedes vexans, a mosquito species indigenous to North America, has the capability to transmit Zika. This is the first native North American mosquito species shown to be able to transmit the virus. The results are published in the Journal of Medical Entomology.
To test the capability of the species to become infected with the virus, the researchers used mosquitoes collected from North Dakota and Minnesota and fed them blood containing Zika virus. Some (about 3 percent) developed infections. Then, infected mosquitoes were tested to see if they could transmit the virus. Surprisingly, Ae. vexans had a higher transmission rate than Aedes aegypti, which was tested alongside Ae. vexans in the study and is the primary vector of Zika.
“Because of its wide geographic distribution, often extreme abundance, and aggressive human biting activity, Ae. vexans could serve as a potential vector for Zika virus in northern latitudes where the conventional vectors, Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus, cannot survive,” write the researchers.
The researchers added that while the mosquito might be capable of transmitting the virus, it doesn’t necessarily mean an outbreak of Zika in northern latitudes is close at hand or even likely.
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Source: Entomology Today