Invasive Mosquito Known To Carry Zika Virus Found In Michigan « Detroit News Watch

WAYNE COUNTY— The invasive Asian tiger mosquito has been identified in Wayne County again this year, officials from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Wayne County Health Department announced Wednesday. Last August, the presence of the mosquito was reported in an industrial area of Livonia. On Aug. 16, the presence of the mosquito was confirmed in an industrial area in Romulus.

The Aedes albopictus species – commonly known as the Asian tiger mosquito – is capable of spreading the Zika virus and other viruses. Officials have found no evidence of Zika or other exotic virus-infected mosquitoes in Michigan or the United States so far this year.

“Many of our neighboring states have found them previously, and have not seen Zika transmission from this species,” said Dr. Eden Wells, MDHHS chief medical executive. ” However, it is always a good idea to take precautions against mosquito bites, since other mosquito species can carry diseases like West Nile virus.”

This species of mosquito can live in areas with a tropical to temperate climate, but has been extending its known range in the U.S. They are considered established in many mid-western states including Ohio, Illinois and Indiana. Occasionally, the mosquitoes will travel in commercial products shipped from states where they are currently established. This is likely how the mosquitoes showed up in Wayne County both this year and last. Recently, they have also been found in Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Windsor, Ontario.

MDHHS in partnership with four mosquito control districts and several local health departments, including Wayne County, and in cooperation with Michigan State University and the Midwest Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Disease, have been conducting surveillance for invasive mosquito species for several years. The presence of the mosquito was discovered in Michigan for the first time in 2017. Continued surveillance suggests that a breeding population did not survive the winter at the previous location. The finding of the mosquito in Romulus is a separate introduction of this species to Wayne County.

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