Rare mosquito that can carry Zika found in York County

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YORK COUNTY – A rare type of mosquito that can carry diseases such as Zika and yellow fever has been located in York County.

According to Laura McDougall from Four Corners Health Department in York, more than one Aedes Aegypti has been located in York County.

According to McDougall, that type of mosquito can carry Zika, dengue fever, yellow fever, and chikungunya.

“However, we are not seeing those diseases in our area at this time,” McDougall said.

The insect is usually found more in tropical climates where it transmits the diseases.

The Department of Health and Human Services said each year, DHHS along with its local health department partners conducts mosquito surveillance to track and monitor the amount of West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes in Nebraska communities.

Occasionally, the mosquito traps yield unexpected findings with potential public health impact, DHHS said.

"Aedes aegypti can carry and transmit various diseases that can have serious health consequences like Zika virus, chikungunya, dengue and yellow fever, and that is of concern to public health officials,” said Dr. Tom Safranek, State Epidemiologist for DHHS. “However, the transmission of these pathogens would require a person currently infected with such a disease to be bitten by an Aedes aegypti mosquito and then that mosquito would need to bite another uninfected person. The risk of these infections to local residents is low but also dependent on the presence or arrival of an infected individual in the area.”

This is the first time this type of mosquito has been found in Nebraska, according to McDougall, but it is a common species in other parts of the world.

McDougall said it is important for people to take precautions against mosquitoes, especially with the type that carries West Nile virus still prevalent in the area.

McDougall recommends:

1. Eliminating standing water (dumping containers, pots, or buckets where water might be collecting)

2. Wear insect repellent.

3. Repair screens and doors so that mosquitoes stay outdoors.

4. Wear long sleeves, pants and socks to avoid being bitten.