Finally, mosquito species transmitting Zika virus confirmed

img_0316Finally, the vector responsible for the Zika virus spread has been identified.  Though Aedes aegypti mosquito was strongly suspected of being the vector, no hard evidence was available.  Now, researchers in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil have the much needed evidence.

According to Ricardo Lourenço de Oliveira, who heads the institute’s laboratory for mosquito-borne disease, Zika virus has been found in adult mosquitoes collected from streets and homes of people with confirmed cases of the disease. Of the over 1,500 mosquitoes trapped in Rio over the past 10 months, half were of the A. aegypti species. A majority of the remaining mosquito species were Culex quinquefasciatus that was suscpected of transmitting the virus to humans.

“Zika virus was found in three sets of A. aegypti mosquitoes, but none of the other species,” notes Science.

“A species called A. albopictus, which can also transmit Zika in the lab and has been found infected with the virus in Mexico, made up only about 2 per cent of the catch,” Lourenço-de-Oliveira told the journal. That means it’s unlikely to be a major vector in urban areas.”

“The discovery of the presence of the virus in the mosquito reinforces that A. aegypti must be the most frequent transmission path of Zika in Brazil,” he said in a statement. The virus was not found in any other mosquito species that were caught by the researchers.

Results of the study will be soon published in a journal.


Related stories and links:

Novel approaches to fight Aedes aegypti mosquito

A ‘turning point’ in the Zika outbreak

‘Extremely severe’ brain damage found in babies with Zika-linked defect

Zika virus: The benefits of open research

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