What to Know About Aedes Albopictus, the Other Mosquito That Carries Zika

Posted by K R on

After the virus itself, the main villain of the Zika outbreak has been the Aedes aegypti mosquito, its primary vector. These mosquitoes are sneaky, and resilient, as my colleague Adrienne LaFrance recently reported—able to breed in the smallest amounts of standing water, predisposed to bite people from behind when they’re not looking. You can imagine them swarming through packed cities, nipping people behind the knees, twirling their tiny mosquito-sized mustaches, and cackling as they fly away. But another mosquito that’s been keeping its head down, lurking in Aedes aegypti’s shadow, not getting much attention, mentioned usually as an afterthought, can also carry the Zika virus. Its name is Aedes albopictus, and the Pan-American Health Organization recently reported that tests of the mosquito done in Mexico came back positive for Zika. This is notable, but not necessarily surprising. It’s been suspected for a while that this mosquito could spread Zika, since it also spreads dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever. In a 2013 study, Aedes albopictus, also known as the Asian tiger mosquito, was successfully infected with Zika virus in a lab in Singapore. Researchers also found Zika in Aedes albopictus collected in the wild in Gabon from 2007-2010. Read More: The Atlantic

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