Another type of mosquito carrying the Zika virus has been found. Scientific researchers report that the Asian tiger mosquito, a fairly common mosquito, was found to carry traces of ZIKA RNA. The specimens were collected in Brazil and scientists conducted genetic testing on these mosquitoes. However, being a carrier of the Zika virus does not automatically mean that the Asian tiger mosquito spreads the virus as well.
It is generally accepted that the main carriers of the Zika virus is Aedes aegypti, commonly known as the yellow fever mosquito. These mosquitos are common backyard mosquitoes and are found throughout the globe, although they do thrive in warm tropical climates, much like the climate in south Florida and south Texas. These two regions are the only places where home-grown mosquitoes have been discovered.
Chelsea Smartt, an associate professor at the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, adds a caveat to the warmer climate mosquitoes tend to thrive in.
“This mosquito is found worldwide, has a wide range of hosts and has adapted to colder climates. The role of this mosquito in Zika virus transmission needs to be assessed.”
Male Mosquitoes Tested Positive For Zika RNA, Not The Live Virus: What Does This Mean?
According to Tucson, Professor Smartt collected the Asian tiger mosquitoes in Brazil. The five adult Asian tiger mosquitoes were hatched from eggs that they collected in a Zika outbreak in Brazil in 2015. The scientific research team found that Zika RNA was found in the Asian tiger male mosquitoes, but they did not test positive for the live Zika virus.
The life cycle of the Zika virus works like this, according to NBC News. Zika needs humans and mosquitoes in order for it to be spread.
“The mosquitoes bite actively infected people, incubate the virus for a while, and then bite other people to spread it.”
Generally a Zika outbreak dies out because mosquitoes don’t travel far.
“Mosquitoes don’t go far, so outbreaks die out unless many people become infected and keep spreading it back to mosquitoes.”
The important factor is how well the Zika virus survives in the bodies of the Asian tiger mosquito, and whether the virus replicates in the mosquito’s salivary glands. This is essential to the virus being spread by a mosquito bite.
However, related viruses aren’t just spread by bite.
But related viruses, including dengue, yellow fever, West Nile, Japanese encephalitis, and St. Louis encephalitis viruses, have been spread from parents to eggs in several species of mosquitoes.
It Has Become Increasingly Important To Curb The Surge In Mosquito Outbreaks
With the rainy season here, people can expect a surge in the mosquito population. This summer you can expect even more mosquitoes than usual because there has been a drought.
Asian tiger species are more common in rural terrains, while the yellow fever mosquito is more common in urban areas. Both these mosquitoes also are daytime biters so it is important to be vigilant at all times.
San Diego is taking a firm stand against mosquitoes and are fighting against these Zika-carrying insects actively. Supervisor Greg Cox advised San Diegans to wage war against mosquitoes, according to Times of San Diego.
Dumping out standing water inside and outside your homes is really important.
“Because if you don’t you could be growing invasive Aedes mosquitoes. They can breed literally in a bucket, a discarded cup, in a toy left outside in the yard, even a bottle cap.”
San Diego county is actively fighting an infestation of mosquitoes by “making aerial drops of a granular larvicide that is harmless to people and pets, but kills mosquito larvae, on 48 waterways around the region.”
The county also manually teats an additional 1,400 potential breeding areas, distributes mosquito-eating fish at no charge, and contributes towards the research of Zika cases.
[Featured Image by Carlos Giusti/AP Images]