Mosquito That Can Carry Zika Found in Nebraska

Close up of Aedes aegypti mosquito identified in Nebraska. (Photo courtesy Four Corners Health Department)
September 11, 2019 - 2:53pm

State health officials said they’ve found a species of mosquito in Nebraska that can carry the harmful Zika virus.


The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and the Four Corners Health Department identified the mosquito this week in York County in east-central Nebraska.

State epidemiologist Tom Safranek said the Aedes aegypti mosquito can carry three other harmful viruses, but the overall risk is very low. 

“I always tell people," Safranek said, "‘we do the worrying, so the public doesn’t have to.’ At this point, I don’t think there’s a human health risk, but it creates a scenario where there could possibly be local transmission.”

No cases of Zika have been confirmed in Nebraska this year. Safranek said the mosquito was discovered while searching for another species responsible for West Nile transmission.

The discovery of the Aedes aegypti is a surprising and important development for mosquito ecology in Nebraska, Safranek said. The mosquito generally lives in a tropical areas and health officials are unsure how the mosquito came to Nebraska. Health and Human Services will work to eradicate the mosquito and then study the newly discovered species. 

 

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