Surveillance turns up mosquito that can carry Zika virus

Photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo Inc. / dabjola

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has found a mosquito known for carrying the Zika virus in the city.

It has been conducting mosquito surveillance across Windsor-Essex and has been keeping an eye out for the Aedes albopictus since 2016 when it showed up in the United States as far north as Vermont.

Although the lone mosquito tested negative for the Zika virus, health officials urge residents to take precautions.

“Aedes albopictus mosquitos are aggressive daytime biters, with peaks in activity in the early morning and late afternoon,” read a release from the health unit. “They typically lay eggs in and near standing water in items such as buckets, bowls, animal dishes, flower pots, clogged gutters, and old tires.”

Residents are urged to remove sources of standing water on their property and to wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and a hat outside to avoid being bitten. Insect repellants containing DEET are also recommended.

Although the discovery was made in Windsor, health officials say the highest risk of Zika virus is to those who travel to the southern U.S., the Caribbean, Latin America, and Brazil. Those who have had sexual contact with travellers to those regions may also contract the virus.

For pregnant women, there is a significant risk to their unborn fetuses. The virus has been linked to microencephaly.