Mosquito capable of spreading Zika virus found in Waukesha County

WAUKESHA COUNTY —¬†Waukesha County Public Health officials want members of the public to know there is likely no increased risk of Zika infection even though the Aedes albopictus mosquito has been found in the county.

Aedes albopictus is one type of mosquito that is capable of spreading the Zika virus, however there is no evidence of Zika-infected mosquitoes in Wisconsin. This is the second documentation of this species of mosquito in Wisconsin this summer.

While it is possible that Aedes albopictus could transmit Zika, a different species, Aedes aegypti, is the primary carrier of the infection. Aedes aegypti lives in warmer climates, and has not been found in Wisconsin or any neighboring states.

Ben Jones, Waukesha County Public Health Officer, said the following in a news release:

“The detection of the Aedes albopictus mosquito in Waukesha County is not a cause for alarm. Several nearby states also have small numbers of these mosquitoes, where Zika virus has not been locally spread. However, we want to remind residents to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites. Other serious diseases, including West Nile Virus, are spread by mosquitoes in our state.”

Teams are currently assessing how widespread Aedes albopictus is in Waukesha County and other parts of the state. The mosquito has been detected in Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois for several years, with no widespread populations of this species becoming established and no known cases of locally transmitted Zika virus in the Midwest.

To protect yourself from mosquito bites:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes to minimize exposed skin.
  • Use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent on any exposed skin and apply it according to the label instructions.
  • Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spray clothes with a repellent containing permethrin or DEET to give extra protection. Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
  • Stay and sleep in places with air conditioning and/or screened-in windows.
  • Prevent standing water in your yard by disposing discarded cans, plastic containers, or tires; draining standing water from pool or hot tub covers; turning over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use; keeping drains, ditches and culverts and gutters clean of trash, weeds and debris to ensure they drain properly.