What Mosquito Carries Zika and Other Viruses?
December 6, 2018
Mosquitoes aren’t just pesky pests—they are dangerous and arguably the most deadly in the world. Over the past few years, the news has brought the Zika virus to the forefront of mosquito fears. And of course, there are other diseases around the world the strike fear in other people. That leaves many people asking what we should be worried about in the northeast.
Common Mosquito Species in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey
There are over 3,300 species of mosquitoes in the world. The United States is home to about 200 species, and Pennsylvania has 60. The most common ones you’ll find in our area are:
- Culex pipiens, AKA the northern house mosquito: Transfers West Nile virus
- Aedes albopictus, AKA the Asian tiger mosquito: Transfers zika virus, yellow fever virus, dengue fever, Chikungunya fever, and Usutu virus.
West Nile virus
West Nile virus is spread by the Culex species of mosquito. In the northeast, it is very rarely a problem, except for people with compromised immune systems.
Zika virus is transferred by Aedes mosquito species. It is most commonly found in tropical areas, so it is not a current threat for people in the northeast.
This is the most common mosquito-borne illness. Anopheles genus—and only females of those species—can transmit malaria. Malaria is caused by a one-celled parasite called a Plasmodium. You are most likely to contract malaria when traveling. The outlook is good if you get treatment as soon as symptoms show up.
This disease is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes aegypti mosquito. Luckily for the people who live in our service area, this disease hasn’t traveled up here but has been found in Florida, Texas, and Hawaii.
Heartworm (for dogs)
The Aedes, Anopheles, and Mansonia species of mosquito are all capable of transmitting heartworm. Dogs can contract this dangerous disease in the northeast, however, they aren’t likely to if you use heartworm prevention tactics.
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