Up till recently the only mosquitos known to be capable of transmitting the Zika virus were species that prefer warmer, tropical climates. However, scientists just discovered that a much more prevalent mosquito species in the U.S. called Culex tarsalis mosquitos, which frequently inhabit climates in colder parts of the country such as Northern California and Midwestern states, are also able to carry and transmit the virus. This is bad news for Americans, as this means that the virus could be carried much farther north and infect a greater amount of citizens than previously believed.
There are two types of Culex mosquitos, a southern one common in Brazil and the northern one common in California. Just like the Aedes eagypti this mosquito species has adapted to live among humans, making it the perfect host for this virus. They tend to stay around agricultural fields as well as in stagnant water around people’s houses. However, officials aren’t too worried by this new vector for the disease, as the species seems to prefer getting their meals from birds as opposed to humans.
Do you think the Zika virus will end up becoming a major epidemic in the U.S.?