CDC Finds Zika-Bearing Mosquitoes More Prevalent Than Previously Reported


zika virus mosquito

According to newly released data, federal health officials have found that mosquitoes that spread Zika virus and other diseases are more widespread among U.S. counties and states than originally thought. The research focused on data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through December 2016 and was published in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

Increases in Reports of Aedes Mosquitoes

Infected mosquitoes from the Aedes family – Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus – are the primary source of transmission of the dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses. The spread of Zika virus has been particularly alarming in recent years, as the virus has been linked to microcephaly and other severe birth defects when a mother is infected with Zika during pregnancy.

After a domestic outbreak of Zika occurred in Miami and Miami Beach starting in late July 2016, which led to the infection of more than 200 people, the CDC increased its efforts to monitor mosquito surveillance throughout the country. Officials conducted surveys of university researchers, mosquito control agencies, and state and local health departments to determine the number of counties with Aedes mosquitoes present. The findings include:

  • Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are present in 38 new counties, a 21% increase over previous data.
  • Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are present in 127 new counties, a 10% increase over previous data.
  • The increase in reports of Aedes aegypti, the most common transmitter of Zika, occurred primarily in Texas, Illinois and Alabama.

While the new data represents a large increase in reports of mosquito activity, it does not mean Zika virus is spreading to new areas or that it is widespread in a particular area, CDC researchers stated. They emphasized the need for continued surveillance of mosquito activity at the state and local levels.

Take Precautions to Prevent Disease

Prevention remains the most effective way to combat the spread of Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases. If you are traveling to a Zika-affected area or live in a part of the country where Zika is present, the CDC recommends the following precautions. Pregnant women or those who may become pregnant are strongly advised to take precautions and avoid travel to Zika-affected countries.

Get Travel Vaccines at RediClinic

RediClinic offers a number of vaccines for travelers, including the yellow fever vaccine (in limited supply*). Yellow fever is another dangerous virus spread by mosquitoes. The price of yellow fever vaccine is $159*. You’ll find RediClinic located inside select H-E-B grocery stores and Rite Aid Pharmacies.

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* Purchase of the Travel Healthy package is required to receive travel vaccinations at RediClinic. Vaccines are offered at an additional cost. Please call the clinic near you to confirm availability of the yellow fever vaccine.