Zika Virus Also Carried by Asian Tiger Mosquito, Research Suggests

In a recent research finding, traces of genetic material of Zika virus have been found in another mosquito species. Primarily carried by the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti, RNA fragments of Zika have been found in Asian tiger mosquitoes during their genetic testing, researchers report.

However, the finding does not prove that Asian tiger mosquito can transmit Zika to individuals. But it certainly necessitates further research for the possibility of other carriers of Zika, as per the author of the study who is an associate professor at Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory at University of Florida. Further commenting via a new release from the Entomological Society of America, the author said that Aedes albopictus may be involved in transmission of Zika virus and is a concern for public health.

Further Research Needed to Ascertain New Carriers for Zika

Aedes albopictus is found across the world with a large number of hosts and has adapted to cold climates. However, the role of this mosquito in transmission of Zika virus is yet to be understood.

For the study part, Asian tiger mosquitoes were collected in Brazil and their eggs were hatched. The scientists found Asian tiger males to test positive for Zika RNA but not live Zika virus. These findings necessitate further research if Aedes albopictus can transmit Zika. These findings also underline the reason why insect scientists and medical researchers need to be extremely cautious while carrying out studies on mosquitoes.

The findings of the study further suggest that mosquitoes collected from areas with high number of Zika cases need to be tested for Zika RNA. In the event if these mosquitoes test positive for Zika RNA, they need to be tested for Zika virus before they are transported to be used in research.