Mosquitoes which may carry Zika virus found in Nebraska

Specialists with the Center for Disease Control are in the town of York. They’re studying a rare type of mosquito that can carry the Zika virus and are finding out why they are in Nebraska.

The species- Aedes Aegypti was found in York during a routine trapping.

Officials want to know how it got there before the public catches any exotic diseases.

In late August, members of the health department were doing their routine mosquito trappings for the year when they got a call back from the labs saying they found a species of mosquito that wasn’t supposed to be in Nebraska.

“These mosquitoes, these Aedes Aegypti, we’re just trying to verify if they’re here. We do not expect that they are carrying diseases, so right now we are just trying to find out if they’ve moved into our area from other parts of the southern united states or from another area in the world,” Executive Director of the Four Corners Health Department, Laura McDougall said. 

The people are worried: is this a mosquito that can carry Zika virus?

“These mosquitoes, in order for it to affect someone would have to first come in contact with a person who has a disease whose brought it in, feed on that person and then about 12 to 14 days later, feed on another person and then spread it that way, but we think it’s very low risk,” Public Health Entomologist, Jeff Hamik said. 

So the CDC partnered with County Health to conduct the study.

The first of the two traps will collect mosquito eggs for study. 

“We put out 66 of these cups in the neighborhood in York, where we’re trying to find mosquitoes to see how far they’ve established their range. It’s pretty simple apparatus, it’s just filled with water and it has a rock in it… And then there’s a paper in here and if there’s a mosquito, that or more that came in and laid their eggs in the water, then the eggs will be on this paper and we simply take the paper out and take that back to a lab and try to rare up and grow mosquitoes,” Epidemiologist of CDC Nebraska, Bryan Buss said. 

The second enhanced survey will utilize 25 unique traps that will collect the adults.

“It’s kind of a hollowed tube that has a fan motor in it, along with a collection net. We bait it with some dry ice that e put into our thermos, as well as a human scent lure. It runs on it’s own battery, so we set this in people’s back yards or areas that may have containers and stuff,” Hamik said. 

Epidemiologists and county health officials warn the public:

“Please do a weekly survey of your yard. Dump anything that might have standing water, remove it if you can, and if you can’t remove or dump it, talk to your local health department. They may be able to help you otherwise,” CDC Public Health, Matthew Donahue M.D. said. 

They collected 50 mosquitoes of this species so far and will continue to collect and study what they catch over the next year.

None of the 50 have shown signs of exotic diseases like dengue fever, yellow fever, chikungunya, or Zika virus.

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