In the ongoing battle against the Zika Virus, the World Health Organization has admitted in Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper, it still is not sure exactly the species of mosquito that is spreading the virus. This news came as a shock in the country with the latest outbreak: Brazil.
The Aedes mosquito was first targeted as the carrier of the Zika virus as it has spread through the Americas. However, Brazil is one of the leaders in illness from Zika, and researchers have yet to identify one Aedes mosquito as a carrier. To experts, it would come as a surprise if the Aedes mosquito isn’t the carrier, but in Brazil, they are not yet 100% sure.
Why does this create a problem? For one, techniques to stop the spread of the virus center on the feeding habits of the Aedes mosquito. Aedes are unique in tropical countries in that they feed mid-day. Other species of mosquitoes will feed only at dawn and dusk. In Brazil, with the major outbreak of Zika, officials have been encouraging people to specifically avoid Aedes mosquitoes. In addition, there are many techniques for controlling mosquitoes that depend on the specific variety of mosquito. According to the USA Today:
Why is this important? Because cash-strapped countries like Brazil are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to educate citizens about Zika and to specifically eradicate Aedes aegypti mosquitoes — maybe even at the expense of targeting other potential transmitters.
Over 1.5 million people have contracted the Zika virus in Brazil, and officials are beginning to worry that focusing on the Aedes mosquito has not produced the results it had hoped. While the Aedes is the likely carrier, officials are beginning to wonder if there could be a different carrier. For more information on the Zika outbreak, and how you can control mosquito populations in your own environment, contact us.