Zika Transmission Limited to Two Mosquito Species, Study Confirms

By Yessenia Funes Sep 23, 2016

New research stemming from Kansas State University’s Biosecurity Research Institute confirms that the Zika virus is transmitted only through two mosquitoes (the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus), not the more common Culex mosquito as previously thought. The Culex mosquito inhabits more temperate climates, so this is good news for northern U.S. states that could have been at-risk.

"It’s very important to know that Culex mosquitoes are not able to transmit Zika," said Dana Vanlandingham, lead author and assistant professor of virology at the university, on the Kansas State website. "It enables people to target their control strategies so that they aren’t wasting time and effort on a mosquito that isn’t transmitting Zika virus." 

The study, published in the journal Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, alleviates concerns from another study released earlier this year, which Colorlines reported on and that drew connections between the Culex mosquito and Zika. However, that study took place in Brazil. This one looked at the U.S.—more specifically, Anderson, California; Mercer County, New Jersey and Vero Beach, Florida. In these places, the mosquitoes examined could not spread the virus.

Per the study: “We cannot exclude the possibility that Culex from Brazil may differ in their susceptibility to the [Zika virus] circulating in Brazil.”

Find the release from Kansas State University for a summary here.