Researchers have made important progress towards fight against the zika virus: Culex mosquitoes which are found across the US do not appear to transmit Zika virus.
The finding is important as it will enable scientists to channel their research into avenues that would yield better results and rule out a vector that doesn’t play a role in the transmission of zika. Appearing in the journal Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, the study saw scientists study Culex species mosquitoes from across the country, including Vero Beach in Florida, which is near Miami-Dade County where mosquitoes are spreading Zika virus.
Before this study there was no clarity on the role of Culex mosquitoes’ in Zika virus. By studying Culex mosquitoes over a period of time, the researchers found that Zika virus did not multiply and instead disappeared in the species.
Thanks to the new study, researchers can now take this particular group of mosquitoes off the list in the U.S. and focus efforts of control on the mosquitoes that we know can infect, like Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified Aedes aegypti, or yellow fever mosquito, and Aedes albopictus, or Asian tiger mosquito, as two species that transmit Zika virus. Both mosquitoes are widely distributed in the U.S. and are present in Kansas.
Culex mosquitoes are brown mosquitoes, while Aedes aegypti are black and Aedes albopictus are black and white. Culex mosquitoes transmit West Nile virus and Japanese encephalitis and live outside. Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus can live in and around houses in plant trays, spare containers or gutters.