By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
Vermont state health officials announced Thursday that the Asian Tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) has been identified for the first time in Vermont.
Typically found in tropical/subtropical climates, this mosquito species is a known disease vector for Zika, chikungunya and dengue viruses, infecting humans in countries where these diseases are present. The mosquitoes found in Vermont do not currently carry these viruses.
Natalie Kwit, public health veterinarian with the Vermont Department of Health, said that while the discovery of Aedes albopictus in the state is notable, Vermont’s climate is currently inhospitable for the mosquito species for most of the year, making it unlikely they will be spreading new diseases here any time soon. “The diseases they can carry are not endemic to our area, and in fact are rarely found anywhere in the United States,” said Kwit.
Environmental Surveillance Program Director Patti Casey said it is too soon to know whether the mosquito’s presence is an anomaly or if the species will be an ongoing part of the state’s ecosystem. “The Asian Tiger mosquito population may not be able to survive a Vermont winter,” said Casey. “It’s possible that this is a transient population — perhaps brought to Vermont by car or truck. Continued surveillance is needed to establish whether this mosquito population will be able to overwinter as eggs or otherwise return to Vermont.”
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