Mosquito & Vector News

Cool, wet spring causes increase in mosquitoes around the Valley

From Fox 10 Phoenix
May 19, 2019

PHOENIX (FOX 10) – A soggy spring and cooler than normal temperatures have Maricopa County Vector Control working hard tracking an unusually busy and early mosquito season, which is causing concern over the growing number of West Nile Virus cases discovered. 

Traps have been set, and thousands of mosquitoes have already been collected by Maricopa County Vector Control. It’s only mid-May.

Division Manager, John Townsend, says the department is busier than usual. 

“Right now it’s a lot worse than it was last year,” said Townsend. 

This map is an indication of just how bad the mosquitoes are biting, and Townsend says there’s been a shift: more bugs are being trapped in central locations versus south of the Valley. 

“It’s kind of amplifying in nature in the birds and the mosquitos but for whatever reason, we are picking it up,” said Townsend. 

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West Nile mosquitoes discovered in Palm Springs

May 17, 2019

PALM SPRINGS, Calif.- – Residents urged to take precautions against mosquito bites after two samples of mosquitoes collected from a trap in Palm Springs tested positive for West Nile virus, according to the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.

A statement issued Friday morning said these were the first samples of mosquitoes to test positive for the virus in Palm Springs this year. 

The trap was located near the intersection of Mesquite Avenue and Gene Autry Trail. The mosquito samples were tested at the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District laboratory.

District staff will post disease notification signs in neighboring communities and will intensify mosquito surveillance with an increase in traps. A statement said technicians would also carry out larval and adult control as necessary in the surrounding area in an effort to reduce the number of mosquitoes and interrupt further virus transmission. 

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Early dengue virus infection could ‘defuse’ zika virus

From Science Daily
May 17, 2019

“We now know for sure that Zika virus infection during pregnancy can affect the unborn fetus in such a way that the child develops microcephaly and other severe symptoms,” explains Prof Felix Drexler, a virologist at the Charité who has been developing diagnostic tests for Zika and other viruses at the DZIF. Just a few years ago, pictures of affected new-borns were cause for worldwide dismay and perplexity. “However, what we did not understand then was that high incidence of microcephaly seemed to occur particularly in northeastern Brazil,” says Drexler. Why are expecting mothers in these regions at a higher risk of developing a severe Zika-associated disease than in other regions? The scientists consequently began to search for cofactors that have an influence on whether a Zika infection during pregnancy will develop fatal consequences or not.

A suspected cofactor

Dengue viruses, which are widespread in Latin America and cause dengue fever, were suspected cofactors. Initially, the scientists suspected that the antibodies humans produce against the dengue virus contribute to the fetal damage caused in later Zika infection. It has been known for a long time that these antibodies can enhance subsequent dengue infections under certain conditions.

However, in the case of Zika, the opposite seems to be the case. “Surprisingly, our study has shown that a previous dengue infection can protect against Zika-associated damage,” emphasizes Drexler.

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Despite lull in activity, area health officials say they will stay vigilant for Zika virus

From The Monitor
May 17, 2019

McALLEN — Health officials in the Rio Grande Valley and Tamaulipas on Thursday warned about the ongoing dangers of the Zika virus, which is still a serious threat in South Texas after setting off a global health crisis in 2015.

After 18 Zika virus cases in Hidalgo County in 2017 and eight in 2018, county investigators have identified only one Zika virus infection in 2019.

“You have to stay ready,” said Eddie Olivares, chief administrative officer for Hidalgo County Health and Human Services.

To help health officials stay ready this week was the annual State of Texas Active Response to Zika conference held at the McAllen Convention Center, with attendees in town from Texas and Northern Mexico. The conference is appropriately set in Hidalgo County, one of nine Texas counties identified to be at a higher risk of spreading Zika due to the warm climate and favorable landscape for year-round mosquito activity, officials said.

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2nd mosquito offensive planned as West Nile found in Coachella Valley again

May 14, 2019

Responding to a rising number of West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes in the area, vector-control officials plan to spray insecticide from trucks in select Indio and Coachella neighborhoods later this week.

According to the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District, two batches of infected mosquitoes were trapped in the valley over the past four days. The number of infected mosquitoes trapped this spring is double the five-year average, and four times as many were caught in April compared to the same month last year, district officials said.

Two weeks ago, insecticide was sprayed from helicopters over select areas in response to the discovery of infected mosquitoes. But in light of the most recent discovery, vector-control officials plan to do another round of spraying nightly from Thursday through Saturday, this time from trucks.

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Long-term consequences of Zika virus infection

From EurekAlert!
May 13, 2019

Mice exposed to the Zika virus during later stages of gestation present behaviors reminiscent of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, according to a study of genetically diverse animals. The findings, published in JNeurosci, suggest children exposed to the virus during the 2015-16 epidemic may harbor increased risk for developmental disorders.

Microcephaly — a smaller than normal head — is the most well-known and visible consequence of Zika virus exposure. Recent research, however, has found brain and behavior abnormalities in Zika-exposed infants without microcephaly.

Abigail Snyder-Keller and colleagues at the New York State Department of Health and the University of Albany School of Public Health examined these more subtle disruptions in male and female mice of four distinct genetic backgrounds. The public health researchers exposed mice to the virus during a period analogous to the third trimester in humans and report different effects depending on the sex and strain of the mouse. This research provides a first step toward studying the full range of possible outcomes in individuals exposed to the Zika virus in the womb.

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North Bay Mosquitoes Arriving Early

May 13, 2019

Mosquitoes are popping up across the North Bay a little early this year. The region’s mosquito season has arrived earlier than expected due to warmer spring temps and more precipitation than usual. The Marin-Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District have been seeing an uptick in calls, which started about two weeks ago. They’re urging people to check their outdoor areas to get rid of standing water that become a habitat for mosquitoes.

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Winter rain, spring heat bring a heavy mosquito season to the North Bay

From The Press Democrat
May 12, 2019

The North Bay is experiencing a heavier and earlier mosquito season this year, thanks to major winter rains and warmer spring temperatures.

The atmospheric rivers that passed through the region earlier this year resulted in large areas of stagnant water, providing the perfect environment for adult mosquitoes to flourish with the recent heat spikes, according to the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District.

The district has experienced a 119% increase in calls for service compared to this time last year — with one recent day registering almost 200 calls within the two counties, spokeswoman Nizza Sequeira said. The agency typically fields about 5,000 service calls a year on a range of pests from mosquitoes to yellow jackets to rodents.

The last time there was as large a call volume for the district was in 2016. The high season typically runs from mid-spring through October, Sequeira said.

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Florida’s High-Tech War Against Mosquitoes Involves Drones

From Medical Daily
May 11, 2019

Residents of South Florida may soon see small unmanned aerial vehicles flying over their communities. The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District plans to launch a new project that aims to utilize drones to stop the spread of potentially harmful mosquitoes. 

Officials said the organization will spend the entire summer to spray or distribute larvicide over salt marshes and other remote areas using the drones. The project will mainly target the Aedes aegypti mosquito species, which is known for carrying deadly diseases, like zika and dengue fever.

Florida Keys hopes the project will eliminate the breeding grounds of the mosquitoes and reduce the population of such insects. Officials also said the high-tech effort will help the local government save a large amount of money, Futurism reported.

The drones will seek remote pools of standing water, a task previously assigned to large, manned helicopters, WLRN has learned.

“In order to dispatch a helicopter to treat those very small sites, it’s very expensive for the district,” Andrea Leal, executive director of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, said. Each drone could carry up to seven or eight pounds of larvicide. 

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Mosquito Season has Arrived. Beware of Standing Water.

May 11, 2019

As temperatures in the Fresno area heat up, agencies are ramping up their information offensives so residents can gird themselves against mosquitoes that can carry the deadly West Nile or Zika viruses.

Fourteen cases of people contracting the West Nile virus were reported by Fresno County officials in 2018. Symptoms include body aches, shortness of breath, headaches and fatigue.

There also were 119 cases of mosquito traps set by the Fresno Mosquito and Vector Control District that showed a presence of West Nile.

As for the Zika virus, infections thus far have been documented only in people who were infected while traveling outside the United States or through sexual contact with an infected traveler. But the Vector Control District urges residents to stay vigilant.

So you should ask yourself: Am I cooking up a breeding ground for mosquitoes? It only takes about a week for a mosquito to grow from an egg into an adult.

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From Coachella Valley MVCD
May 10, 2019

Press Release

Four samples of mosquitoes collected from traps in Coachella, Indio, and Thermal tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). They are the first mosquitoes in 2019 to test positive for the virus in the Coachella Valley. The positive samples contained mosquitoes from traps located near the following locations: Avenue 53 and Shady Lane in Coachella; Avenue 43 and Golf Center Parkway in Indio; and Avenue 60 and Tyler Street in Thermal. Virus testing was conducted in the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District lab.

District staff will post disease notification signs in communities located near the trap locations and will intensify mosquito surveillance with an increase in traps and inspections for mosquito breeding sites. Technicians will also carry out larval and adult control as necessary in the surrounding area in an effort to reduce the number of mosquitoes and interrupt further transmission of the virus.

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West Nile virus found in east valley mosquitoes for first time in 2019, officials say

From the Desert Sun
May 10, 2019

West Nile virus has been detected for the first time this year in mosquitoes in the eastern Coachella Valley, officials said Friday. 

Four mosquito samples collected in Coachella, Indio and Thermal tested positive for the virus, which can be transmitted to humans through a bite, according to the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.

Most infected with the virus won’t become sick, officials said. Some end up suffering flu-like symptoms while others will require hospitalization. It can also be fatal.

The positive samples were collected at three locations: Avenue 54 and Shady Lane in Coachella, Avenue 43 and Golf Center Parkway in Indio and Avenue 60 and Tyler Street in Thermal.

As a result of the virus being detected, officials will post signs in the areas near the traps and increase inspections.

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Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile Virus in Indio, Coachella, Thermal

May 10, 2019

INDIO, Calif.- – Mosquitoes in three desert cities have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), according to the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District (CVMVCD). 

This is the first instance of mosquitoes testing positive for the virus this year. 

Four samples which were gathered from traps that had been set up in Indio, Coachella, and Thermal tested positive.

The traps were set up in the following locations:

  • Avenue 53 and Shady Lane in Coachella
  • Avenue 43 and Golf Center Parkway in Indio
  • Avenue 60 and Tyler Street in Thermal

Testing was conducted in the CVMVCD lab.

“The wet winter and warm temperatures produced more mosquitoes than we usually have at this time of year, so it is not surprising to see virus activity,” said Jeremy Wittie, General Manager of the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District. “We urge residents across the valley to be vigilant in protecting themselves from mosquito bites given we have detected the virus in three different locations spanning a wide area.” 

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Officials bracing for the mosquito invasion

From Sierra Wave Media
May 9, 2019

News release

(This is a joint communication from the Mono County Health Department and the Owens Valley Mosquito Abatement Program (OVMAP):  Big snow years can mean big mosquito seasons and we are expecting some bugs!

Thank you to Rob Miller (OVAP), Anna Scott (Inyo County HHS), Joe Burns (CDPH), and our own Louis Molina (MCHD) for info and edits.)

Mosquitoes are annoying but can also carry diseases. Local authorities expect large numbers of mosquitoes in our area this spring due to lots of snowmelt and runoff. West Nile Virus has affected people in the Eastern Sierra in recent years, although to date it remains uncommon.

Currently public health experts are monitoring the spread of invasive Aedes mosquitoes such as the Aedes aegypti, and albopictus which have been introduced into the United States from other countries and established themselves from San Diego to the Central Valley. Invasive Aedes mosquitoes can also spread other viral diseases that we would rather not have in our region, including dengue, yellow fever, Zika and Chikungunya.

Fortunately, none of these viruses are currently known to be transmitted within California, but thousands of people are infected with these viruses in other parts of the world, including in Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Asia.

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How Families Can Stay Safe and Healthy While Traveling This Summer

From U.S. News
May 8, 2019

AS THE WEATHER WARMS and the school year comes to a close, lots of families are planning to hit the road.

For many, it’s a great time to visit places and people near and far away. However, it’s also important during this busy travel season to take some precautions.

Here are some things to keep in mind – and ways to stay safe and healthy – if you’re planning to travel with your family this summer:

1. Airplanes are filthy.

We all know it. But, were you aware that research has been done to identify patterns of infectious disease transmission in the friendly skies? Although there are no comprehensive guidelines, we do know that airplane tray tables are infrequently cleaned. Given that, packing wipes to clean the areas your family will be touching – like the tray table, armrests and headrests – is not a bad idea.

Window seats are better protected from the constant aisle traffic, providing a slightly better position to avoid germs. Regardless of where you sit, however, remember the pockets on the backs of seats in airplanes are never cleaned. The pockets often hold trash, dirty Kleenex tissues, food and other nasty items. So keep your stuff out of there.

2. Flying with a baby? Get cozy.

I recommend my families “wear their infant” – using a baby carrier – through the airport. Not only will you be hands-free to carry all the packages and luggage, but it will also decrease the need to put the baby down in potentially dirty areas.

The best baby carriers hold your baby snugly and securely to your chest, allow you to easily see your child at all times and have a supportive back to keep your baby’s chin off his or her chest. Using a baby carrier also creates a natural barrier that discourages strangers from getting close enough to admire your little one and accidentally share some germs.

3. Zika is still a thing.

Just because the Zika virus isn’t in the headlines doesn’t mean it’s no longer a threat. If you’re traveling to the Caribbean, South America, Mexico, Africa, Asia or the Pacific Islands, Zika precautions still apply for pregnant women and those planning to get pregnant in the near future.

Talk with your health care provider about potential risks and precautions, including safer sex practices during the trip and after your return, if you do travel to an area where Zika has been transmitted.

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Where Are Californians Acquiring the Zika Virus?

From Vax Before Travel
May 8, 2019

May 8th, 2019 – The State of California Health and Human Services Agency reported 17 Zika virus disease cases during 2019. 

According to this May 1, 2019 report, all 17 of these Zika cases are ‘travel-associated.’ 

The State of California defines this term to mean ‘persons exposed through travel to an affected area or contact with a traveler.’ 

Since federal privacy laws prohibit the State of California from disclosing where or how these Californians were exposed to the Zika virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes an extensive list of countries that have been associated with the Zika virus. 

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From Futurity
May 7, 2019

The timing of a hurricane is one of the primary factors affecting the spread of mosquito-borne infectious diseases such as West Nile virus, dengue, chikungunya, and Zika, a new study shows.

Researchers developed a mathematical model to study the impact of heavy rainfall events (HREs) such as hurricanes on the transmission of vector-borne infectious diseases in temperate areas of the world, including the southern coastal United States.

In the aftermath of this type of extreme weather event, the mosquito population often booms in the presence of stagnant water. At the same time, the breakdown of public and private health infrastructure can put people at increased risk of infection.

The study, which appears in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, finds that the risk of a disease outbreak is highest if the HRE occurs early in the transmission season, or the period of time when mosquitoes are able to pass on the virus to humans.

According to the study, an HRE that occurs on July 1 results in 70 percent fewer disease cases compared to an HRE that occurs on June 1.

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New Camp Fire horror: Mosquitoes in droves

From the Chico Enterprise-Record
May 2, 2019

CHICO — It’s the time of year when the mosquito abatement office starts revving up with news about protection and prevention against the bugs.

But for the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District staff, it’s a spring like no other. The mosquito control district is reeling from the Camp Fire, but in a way that many may not realize.

“The Camp Fire has thrown us unforeseen challenges. We are overwhelmed,” said district manager Matt Ball.

Ball and his staff have been dealing with abandoned pools here and there throughout the county, but those numbers are rampant in Paradise.

“You’ll come up and there will be no house, but a pool in the back yard full of green water,” Ball said this week. No one is visiting the house site to deal with the pool, as one by one, the house debris is collected during clean-up.

Worse yet, the clean-up does not include pools, which are left as is, but fenced. The district is encouraging property owners to get mosquitofish for free for those pools. Switching on the pool recirculation system can help move the water and prevent egg laying, Ball said.

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Springtime marks the start of mosquito season. How to prepare

From ABC 30
May 1, 2019

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — A cemetery may seem like an unlikely place to start the annual battle against mosquitos, but the flower pots and the water in them can be a primary breeding ground for these pests.

“We are finding an extreme amount of mosquito larvae in the usual places,” said Ryan McNeil. “Hot spots around town, the Fig Garden area, local cemeteries, the zoo, places of that nature.” 

Crews from the Mosquito Abatement team are placing insecticide pellets in pots with standing water in the cemetery. Elsewhere mosquito fish are placed in old swimming pools or unused fountains where the water is still. 

The best way to keep mosquitos away is to eliminate any standing water around your home.

“The main thing residents of the county and everywhere can do to reduce the risk of mosquitos and the diseases they carry is to get rid of standing water,” McNeil said. “Whether it’s a flower pot, tires, children’s toys, trash, anything that can hold water.” 

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Yellow fever, Asian tiger mosquitoes adept at transmitting Zika

From Clay Today
May 1, 2019

Yellow fever and Asian tiger mosquitoes found in Florida – and infected with the Zika virus – are good at transmitting the virus, new University of Florida research shows. Zika can make people sick and in rare cases may cause paralysis (Guillain-Barré Syndrome) and birth defects.

Zika was in the news a lot in 2015 and 2016 after an outbreak of the virus in Brazil made its way via humans to people in Florida and other places. Scientists believe the yellow fever mosquito was the primary culprit behind that Zika outbreak.

Meanwhile, researchers at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and across the globe are keeping a close eye on the virus and how it goes from mosquito to human. By continuing to research Zika, UF/IFAS scientists hope to provide better information to mosquito control officials and health care practitioners.

“Despite the absence of current local transmission in Florida, Zika will remain a public health threat for the foreseeable future in the Americas,” said Barry Alto, an associate professor of entomology at the UF/IFAS Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory in Vero Beach. “This study and many others address gaps in our understanding of the epidemiology of Zika,”

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Mosquito season begins as Vector Control tries to keep it under control

From ABC 7
May 1, 2019

CONCORD, Calif. (KGO) — It’s warming up, and that means more time outside for people in the Bay Area. It’s also the start of mosquito breeding season. 

Mosquitoes can do more than ruin your picnic — they can make you sick. In Concord, the fight against the pesky insect is already underway. 

Vector Control yechnician Chris Doll is on a search and destroy mission, crunching his way through the brush and negotiating a steep hillside to get down to Mt. Diablo Creek in Concord — still flowing because of all the rain this winter. 

Looking down at the narrow creek bed, he said, “Right here, this a really good example of a creek becoming a good mosquito source.” 

Tiny fish of the Guppy family who can eat 200 mosquito larvae each day will do the actual fighting. He brings them in clear plastic bags filled with water and releases them into the creek. 

The creek is not a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes — yet. 

“They like stagnant standing water with a lot of organics,” Doll said. 

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Building a Molecular Weapon in the Fight Against Zika

From SUM
April 30, 2019

The Zika virus, first identified in 1947, made headlines in 2015 with an outbreak in Brazil, followed by cases elsewhere in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the U.S. The virus causes microcephaly and other birth defects in the children of pregnant, infected mothers. No antiviral drug has been specifically approved to treat it.

Now, researchers from Hunter College and the Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC) at The Graduate Center, CUNY, have developed a series of molecules that have strong anti-Zika activity while showing low toxicity toward animal cells.

The paper, authored by Ph.D. student Fernando Bravo, Hunter College undergraduates Milan Shlain and Yasir Naeem, and Professor Adam Braunschweig of Hunter College and the ASRC, appears in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

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What animal is leaving dirt mounds in the middle of sidewalks?

From The Lewiston Tribune
April 30, 2019

Dear Joan: After living here almost 40 years, we are suddenly seeing gopher or mole mounds popping up all over the seams of our front sidewalk and driveway.

From time to time, we and some neighbors have seen this happen on our lawns, but this is the first time I have seen it in the concrete areas. I’m unsure how to tackle this since there is little space between the concrete joints to place traps or drop some poison.

Am I going to need professional help or is there a way to do this yourself?

— Don Senger

Dear Don: I turned to the experts at the Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District for an answer, and Terry Davis, vertebrate program supervisor for the district, says those mounds are the work of moles.

That’s actually good news because you really don’t need to do anything. Moles are mostly harmless. They eat insects, which they find by burrowing in the soil. They won’t eat your garden plants, and any damage they cause is accidental, disturbing roots around the plants.

They don’t chew on pipes or wires. They just tunnel and eat worms, beetles and other denizens of the deep.

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Break In West Nile Cases May Be Benefit Of Winter’s Bounty

From the Campbell Patch
April 29, 2019

SAN JOSE, CA — Despite the prolific water left as breeding grounds, the long, arduous winter may take the bite out of opportunities for the West Nile virus spreading this summer.

That’s because more water sources create enough space for birds and mosquitoes to spread out in their own domain, Santa Clara County Vector Control District Manager Nayer Zahiri told Patch. Mosquitoes get West Nile from birds. The flying pests then give it to people.

During drought years, mosquitoes and birds are forced to share their water sources. It’s like more people catching colds in the winter because we’re sharing more confined spaces.

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Aerial insecticide plan announced to curb rural mosquito populations

April 29, 2019

SALTON SEA, Calif. – Insecticide will be sprayed from a helicopter this week over a rural patch of land just north of the Salton Sea, where mosquito populations are expected to boom, officials announced today.

Residents shouldn’t be worried about exposure though, as the aerial mists starting on Thursday will be in such low volumes — combined with natural degradation of the insecticide — that they will not harm any animals larger than an insect, Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District (CVMVCD) spokeswoman Jill Oviatt said.

The EPA-approved Aqua-Reslin used in the helicopter misting process likely won’t kill off local bee population, Oviatt added, since the pollinators usually fly during the daytime hours and the misting project will take place between 8 p.m. and midnight.

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How Do Mosquitoes Taste DEET? Hint: It’s Not Their Mouthparts

April 25, 2019

Emily Dennis has spent hours, if not days, watching mosquitoes buzz around her bare, outstretched arm. Carefully, she’s observed the insects land, stab their mouthparts through her skin and feed.

But if her arm is slathered with DEET, mosquitoes stay away.

“DEET works better than any other insect repellent, and despite it being around since the late 1940s, we still don’t really understand why,” says Dennis, a neuroscientist currently at Princeton University, who endured many bug bites while studying how DEET repels insects en route to her Ph.D. at Rockefeller University.

Those bug bites paid off. In a paper published Thursday in Current Biology, she and her colleagues show that Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, common transmitters of diseases like dengue and Zika, sense DEET through their feet, not their mouthparts. According to the authors, the finding narrows the path for future research that could potentially help scientists develop more desirable alternatives to DEET — for example, repellents that don’t need to be reapplied as often as DEET.

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County Conditions Ripe For Mosquito Breeding

From the Oakdale Leader
April 24, 2019

After the significant rainfall the area received this winter, mosquito experts throughout the state stress the need for Californians to dump and drain all standing water. According to the California Department of Water Resources, the San Joaquin Valley received nearly 125 percent of the average rainfall from October 2018 to February 2019. The heavy rainfall can lead to accumulated stagnant water, which in turn creates mosquito breeding sites.

In addition to mosquitoes being a nuisance, they also pose a serious public health risk as infected mosquitoes can spread viruses, which can cause debilitating cases of meningitis, encephalitis, and even death. West Nile Virus activity was detected in 41 counties in California in 2018 and there were 215 human WNV cases reported, of which 153 were the more severe neuroinvasive form. There were also five human Saint Louis Encephalitis Virus Cases in the state.

During 2018 in Stanislaus County there were 15 human cases of West Nile Virus and one case of Saint Louis Encephalitis Virus.

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There’s A Buzz In The Air: Mosquito Awareness Week Reminds Californians To Take Precautions Against West Nile Virus

From Capital Public Radio
April 23, 2019

As temperatures climb, so does the mosquito population.

This week is Mosquito Awareness Week in California, which reminds residents to take precautions to avoid bites. Aaron Devencenzi with the San Joaquin Mosquito Control District says the main concern is the spread of West Nile virus.

“West Nile virus is throughout California and it’s important that people remember that disease is active,” he said. “We can get sick from that disease. We’ve had people from throughout the state die from West Nile virus and we want to reduce the overall population of mosquitoes from getting that disease.”

Last year California counted 218 cases of the virus spread by mosquitoes, 11 of which were fatal. And this year the state has seen 125 percent of normal rainfall, which means ideal conditions for mosquito breeding.

Devencenzi says reducing the mosquito population can start at home by removing any standing water.

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Carr Fire may have created mosquito problems for years to come

From the Record Searchlight
April 23, 2019

Since her home burned down in the Carr Fire last July, nearly everything has changed about Christine Ogle’s living conditions. And now that the rain has finally given way to sunny days and temperatures in the 80s, that also means more mosquitoes, she said.

“I’ve noticed that they are worse this year,” Ogle said of the mosquitoes that have been buzzing and biting lately.

If the mosquitoes in Redding and surrounding areas seem to be worse this year, some of that can be blamed on the Carr Fire, which has created more places for the pests to lay eggs, said Peter Bonkrude, general manager of the Shasta Mosquito and Vector Control District.

Even though it has been more than six months since the deadly fire was put out, mosquito district officials are still dealing with aftermath of the blaze, which destroyed more than 1,600 buildings and claimed the lives of eight people.

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Spring can mean more pesky mosquitoes. Here’s how to keep that problem a small one.

From ABC 10
April 22, 2019

As long as there is a constant water supply, mosquitoes have been known to reproduce in something as small as an overturned bottle cap.

HERALD, Calif. — Linda McAllister was standing outside on the patio around 11:00 a.m. Monday when mosquitoes attacked her and her daughter. Now, she’s worried the wet spring might mean even more of the pesky bugs.

It’s Mosquito Awareness Week in California. Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control is working to educate people about how they can prevent the insects from reproducing and spreading.

“One of our main messages that we’re always trying to promote is draining sources of stagnant water around your home,” explained spokesperson Luz Maria Robles. “This is exactly what you would see if you left a bucket, a container, maybe a flower pot or a kiddie pool, [or] a dog dish with stagnant water in your yard.”

Mosquitoes have been known to reproduce in something as small as an overturned bottle cap, provided there is a constant water supply.

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You Can Prevent Mosquito Development

From San Joaquin County MVCD
April 22, 2019


(STOCKTON, CA) – As temperatures increase following recent rains, mosquito populations are on the rise. San Joaquin County Mosquito and Vector Control District (District) is asking the public to remove all standing water around their property. “Mosquitoes will take advantage of water in large containers like rain collection barrels and wheel-barrows to small containers with only a tablespoon of water,” said Aaron Devencenzi, Public Information Officer with the District. “It only takes a tablespoon of water for mosquitoes to develop,” said Devencenzi.

During Mosquito Awareness Week in California (April 21-27, 2019) the District takes this opportunity to remind the public of our services and mosquito prevention tips. In addition to dumping and draining water, we encourage the proper disposal of containers that are no longer useful. From neglected swimming pools, animal water troughs, water features, and ornamental ponds, we encourage people to stock our mosquitofish. Mosquitofish can be obtained by picking them up at the District’s main office or delivered with no charge throughout San Joaquin County.

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As the weather heats up, it’s time to fend off mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus

From the Sacramento Bee
April 21, 2019

Significant rainfall last winter ended drought conditions in all of California for the first time since 2011, but mosquito experts fear those same downpours have left a breeding ground for the blood-sucking flies that spread West Nile virus.

Public health officials in California reported 11 deaths from the disease and 243 infections in 2018. Yolo County had the third-highest rate of infection last year at 4.97 cases per 100,000 residents, coming in behind Glenn County at 6.95 per 100,000 and Butte County at 5.27 per 100,000.

The West Nile virus causes brain inflammation, said Dr. Stu Cohen, chief of infectious diseases at Sacramento’s UC Davis Medical Center, and that inflammation damages the brain and central nervous system. Despite a number of attempts to find a cure, he said, none has been found.

Some people may be infected with West Nile and never show symptoms, said Dr. Arthur Jey, an emergency medicine doctor at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, but for those who do, medical providers focus on helping people survive them. Those most vulnerable to the virus tend to be the very old or the very young, he said.

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Officials brace for an abundance of mosquitoes

From the Turlock Journal
April 19, 2019

The deluge of rain that fell in the Central Valley this winter and spring did much to help the state out of the drought, but it also created optimal breeding conditions for mosquitoes that officials are warning could prompt a bevy of health concerns for residents.

According to the California Department of Water Resources, the San Joaquin Valley received nearly 125 percent of the average rainfall from October 2018 to February 2019. The heavy rainfall can lead to accumulated stagnant water, which in turn creates mosquito breeding sites. Mosquito experts throughout the state are stressing the need for Californians to dump and drain all standing water.

“Warm weather coupled with large amounts of stagnant water from recent rain events create the perfect conditions for mosquito breeding,” said Dave Heft, general manager for Turlock Mosquito Abatement District. “Mosquitoes can lay their eggs in a wide range of water holding sources and can complete their life cycle, from egg to adult, in about a week. Residents must do their part to help protect public health by dumping and draining all standing water to eliminate mosquitoes from their communities.”

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Heavy rainfall brings concerns for large mosquito infestation

From the Daily Republic
April 18, 2019

FAIRFIELD — The late-winter storms brought nearly $800,000 in damage to Solano County infrastructure – and health officials are concerned they also will bring mosquitoes.

The state Legislature this week proclaimed April 21-27 as Mosquito Awareness Week.

“Warm weather coupled with large amounts of stagnant water from recent rain events create the perfect conditions for mosquito breeding,” Jeremy Wittie, president of the Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California, said in a statement released Wednesday.

“Mosquitoes can lay their eggs in sources of water as small as a bottle cap and can complete their life cycle, from egg to adult, in about a
week. California residents must do their part to help protect public health by dumping and draining all standing water to eliminate mosquitoes from their communities,” Wittie said.

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Officials Suggest Virus Prevention Techniques As Mosquito Dangers Loom

April 18, 2019

Winter rains may have made the Coachella Valley extra lush over the past few weeks, but officials warn that those conditions likely will precipitate a flood of mosquitoes and their attendant viruses to the desert.

“A combination of an unusually wet winter and a spike in temperatures could result in increased mosquito-borne virus activity, such as West Nile and St. Louis encephalitis,” officials from the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District said. (We are) “currently trapping twice the mosquitoes than is normal this time of year when compared to the 5-year average.”

The factors indicate both an early and active mosquito season ahead.

Due to the increased risk of mosquito-borne viruses, officials ask Coachella Valley residents to dump or drain any standing water to help eliminate the deadly critter’s breeding and nesting ground.

“If people make mosquito prevention a weekly routine, just like taking out the trash, that’s when we will see real reductions in mosquitoes,” District Public Information Manager Jill Oviatt said.

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San Diego County asks residents to prepare for mosquito season

From ABC 10 News San Diego
April 16, 2019

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Mosquito season is officially here, and San Diego County health officials are asking all San Diegans to dump any standing water around their homes.

Health experts say West Nile virus still remains a threat in San Diego. Although, only one dead bird has tested positive for West Nile so far this year.

County Supervisor Greg Cox and County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten kicked off the county’s “Prevent, Protect, Report” mosquito-prevention campaign Tuesday.

They say invasive mosquitoes also exist in San Diego and they can potentially transmit tropical diseases if visitors return home ill after travels, like the Zika virus.

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From “blitzscaling” to “move fast and break things,” startups are focused on growth and speed – that’s change at scale. I see that focus in the startups in my accelerators and students in my classes at USC. But something related that we rarely talk seriously about is what happens when that growth, speed, and change affects other parts of an existing system. That’s deemed to be outside of our concern.

The business and social effects of change might be more commonly noticed, but today I want to talk about health effects, both positive and negative, that can come from a big and rapid change.

One of the preventable diseases that still kills a large number of people is malaria, spread by mosquitoes. Humans have dealt with this disease for centuries. Even in the US, malaria was only eradicated in 1951.

As high a toll as malaria takes, the number of annual deaths has decreased a lot. While in 2015 there were 212 million malaria cases and 429,000 deaths, just 20 years earlier the numbers were much higher, with estimates of 300 – 500 million cases with 3 million deaths.

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‘Fight the Bite’: How to Protect Against Mosquitoes in San Diego

From NBC San Diego
April 16, 2019

Warmer days across San Diego County mean mosquitos are starting to make their presence known and the insects may find your backyard – and any little pocket of stagnant water – an especially comfortable place to breed this season.

“Even the small little sources that show up in backyards can produce a lot of mosquitos when you add it all up,” Chris Conlan, Supervising Vector Ecologist for the County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health, said.

“The bottom line is anything that can hold water for a week or longer is a potential mosquito breeding source – whether it’s that saucer under your plants, an old bucket, kids toys that are getting filled up every time the sprinklers go off – the list is endless, really.”

Conlan, along with San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox and other environmental health officials, held a news briefing Tuesday to remind locals to protect themselves against mosquitos and mosquito-borne illnesses.

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Mosquitoes: More expected, one disease ‘coming back with a vengeance’ in Valley

From the Fresno Bee
April 15, 2019

Heavy winter snowpack and more rain this spring likely means more mosquitoes are coming soon to the central San Joaquin Valley.

“We are expecting a fairly significant increase in mosquito activity,” said Michael Cavanagh, district manager of the Kings Mosquito Abatement District based in Hanford.

Mosquitoes need water to lay their eggs, so more water means more places for the insects to breed.

Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus remain a concern in the Valley, and an increasing number of mosquitoes have been found to be carrying Saint Louis encephalitis. That disease has been “coming back with a vengeance” over the past couple years, said Ryan McNeil, district manager of the Fresno Mosquito and Vector Control District.

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Brazilian Researchers Develop Faster Test to Detect Zika Virus

From The Rio Times
April 15, 2019

BRASILIA, BRAZIL – A cheaper and faster test for detecting the Zika virus is being developed by Fiocruz (Oswaldo Cruz Foundation) in Pernambuco, Brazil. The researchers are hopeful that the new test will help save lives, especially outside big cities.

“Given that the current technique (PCR, or polymerase chain reaction) is extremely expensive and Brazil has few reference laboratories that can perform the Zika diagnosis, a small city in the countryside ends up being impaired by a lack of resources. The sample needs to be taken to the capital in order to be processed. The results can take fifteen days,” explains researcher Severino Jefferson Ribeiro.

In addition to costing forty times less, the new test provides results in twenty minutes. It is also more accurate, has a lower error rate, and detects disease in cases where the PCRmethod cannot, says Ribeiro.

Another advantage of the new test is that it can be done by any health professional since it doesn’t require complex training. A health agent needs simply to collect saliva and urine samples, mix with the supplied reagents in a small plastic tube, and then heat up the mixture in a water bath.

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Heavy rains, end of drought could help keep West Nile virus subdued — for now

From the Herald-Mail Media
April 13, 2019

The end of California’s drought, announced last month amid one of the rainiest winters in memory, could offer a surprising benefit: reduced transmission of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus.

Longer term, however, more severe droughts associated with climate change could contribute to an increase in the number of infections in the state and nationally.

Drought is the most important weather-related factor that affects the rate of West Nile infection, researchers say. Even though mosquito eggs need water to hatch, dry conditions tend to spur greater transmission of the virus.

“Ironically, when we have drought conditions, that does seem to amplify the West Nile virus transmission cycle,” said Vicki Kramer, chief of the Vector-Borne Disease Section at the California Department of Public Health.

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Heavy Rains, End Of Drought Could Help Keep West Nile Virus Subdued — For Now

From Kaiser Health News
April 12, 2019

The end of California’s drought, announced last month amid one of the rainiest winters in memory, could offer a surprising benefit: reduced transmission of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus.

Longer term, however, more severe droughts associated with climate change could contribute to an increase in the number of infections in the state and nationally.

Drought is the most important weather-related factor that affects the rate of West Nile infection, researchers say. Even though mosquito eggs need water to hatch, dry conditions tend to spur greater transmission of the virus.

“Ironically, when we have drought conditions, that does seem to amplify the West Nile virus transmission cycle,” said Vicki Kramer, chief of the Vector-Borne Disease Section at the California Department of Public Health.

West Nile is transmitted between mosquitoes and birds, and people can become infected if bitten by an infected mosquito. The illness is rarely transmitted from one person to another. According to one theory, when drought forces mosquitoes and birds into closer proximity around the few remaining sources of water, it increases the chance of infection.

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Mosquito Concerns Grow After Wet Bay Area Winter

From CBS SF Bay Area
April 12, 2019

BEL MARIN KEYS (KPIX 5) – The rain this year may have gotten us out of our drought but biologists are concerned about mosquitoes breeding in standing water in grassy swamps.

And while they haven’t seen the transmission of diseases yet, it’s a concern as temperatures are expected to warm up in the coming week.

In the waterfront community of Bel Marin Keys in Novato, residents have already started noticing the mosquitoes.

“Yes a lot of them swarms of mosquitoes,” Eileen told KPIX 5.

Biologists say blame the rain for the increase in the mosquito population this season

“This year we’re going to have little mosquito breeding sites where we didn’t have them before,” UC Berkeley horticulture adviser Steven Swain said.

The Marin-Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District says it has already identified more than 20,000 mosquito breeding sites in both counties.

But biologists are not just concerned about large areas. It’s the smaller puddles of water in people’s backyards. And as these mosquitoes breed, the potential for diseases increase.

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Zika Remains a Significant Risk For International Travelers

From Precision Vaccinations
April 12, 2019

April 12th, 2019 – The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) issued a new Zika risk assessment saying that ‘while transmission has slowed in the Americas, the Zika virus is widespread in Asia.’ 

This new ECDC report published on March 20, 2019, says ‘the risk of Zika infection depends on the local risk of mosquito-borne transmission.’ 

And, the Zika virus remains a leading concern for pregnant women, the risk related to sexual transmission of Zika, and the risk of importation into Europian countries. 

During 2019, the ECDC has confirmed 3 travel-associated Zika cases in Denmark and Norway in travelers returning from Thailand. 

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New research suggests climate change could enable mosquitoes to evolve more rapidly

From Yale Climate Connections
April 10, 2019

hink of the world’s deadliest animal, and what comes foremost to mind? (For purposes of discussion and fear of losing readers, let’s exclude humans.)

Saltwater crocodiles get a lot of votes, and deservedly. So too do black mamba snakes – slithering at speeds of up to 12.5 miles per hour, but perhaps not so well-known to many. Pufferfish and golden poison dart frogs also garner their share of votes.

But closer to home (at least for most of us), it’s actually mosquitoes that earn the “We’re No. 1” ranking. Adding to the fear factor, mosquitoes also find alluring our human body temperatures and the carbon dioxide we exhale.

The World Health Organization reports more than 700,000 people around the world die from vector-borne diseases each year, and 438,000 global malaria deaths in 2015 alone. It’s for sure that not all mosquitoes carry the makings of Chikungunya, West Nile virus, Zika virus, and yellow fever that contribute to that yearly bounty, and some diseases are carried by vectors other than mosquitoes.

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Las Vegas Valley mosquito monitoring operation begins

From the Las Vegas Review-Journal
April 10, 2019

With the arrival of warmer weather, the Southern Nevada Health District’s Mosquito Surveillance Program is once again taking wing.

The program monitors mosquito populations in the valley and sets traps in potential breeding areas. Different types of traps are used to target different species of mosquitoes, the district said in a news release.

Mosquitoes carrying viruses that cause West Nile and St. Louis encephalitis were first found in Southern Nevada in 2004. The health district also identified a species that spreads Zika and dengue fever, though no mosquitoes carrying those viruses have been found in the region.

Since 2004, the surveillance program has sent over 150,000 mosquitoes to the Nevada Department of Agriculture for testing, according to the health department. About 4,000 of those tested positive for the West Nile virus.

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Zika Virus Update for Summer 2019

From KMOV4
April 10, 2019

With summer just around the corner is St. Louis, many people are planning their BBQs, picnics, and relaxing days enjoying the sunshine. But as the weather warms up, pests will begin to emerge from their hiding places. Some of these pests, such as mosquitos, can carry dangerous viruses, such as the Zika virus, that can pose a risk to your family’s health.

There are a variety of ways you can protect yourself and your property from a mosquito invasion to keep yourself and your family safe this summer and make your outdoor activities more enjoyable, without the buzzing of mosquitos.

Warmer Weather Brings Sunshine and Disease-Carrying Mosquitos

Jeff Phillips, President of Blue Chip Pest Services said mosquitos begin to emerge once the weather warms up and freezing temperatures have subsided. “In St. Louis that is starting right now to some extent. We’ve already had some signs of breeding,” Phillips said.

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CDC Advice on Avoiding Bug Bites

From the Sierra Sun Times
April 9, 2019

Bugs, including mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and some flies, can spread diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and Lyme, all of which have risk of severe and lasting consequences. Several diseases spread by bug bites cannot be prevented or treated with vaccines or medicine, such as Zika, dengue, and Lyme. Reduce your risk of getting these diseases by taking steps to prevent bug bites.

What You Should Know Before You Go

Current Risks to Consider

  • Dengue viruses are spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms of mild dengue include fever with any of the following: nausea, vomiting, rash, aches and pains (eye pain typically behind the eyes, muscle, joint, or bone pain).Mild dengue symptoms can become severe within a few hours. Severe dengue is a medical emergency. There is no vaccine to prevent dengue, and there is no treatment. Protect yourself by preventing mosquito bites.
  • Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. Many people infected with Zika won’t have symptoms or will have only mild symptoms, which can include fever, rash, headache, joint pain, conjunctivitis (red eyes), and muscle pain. There is no vaccine to prevent Zika, and there is no treatment. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause severe birth defects. Healthcare providers should discuss the risk of Zika to pregnant couples or couples trying to get pregnant who plan to travel to an area with risk of Zika.

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Reduction in mosquito breeding sites in Westmoreland

From the Jamaica Observer
April 9, 2019

ST JAMES, Jamaica — Vector Control Officer at the Westmoreland Health Department, Ryan Morris, is reporting a major reduction in breeding sites for the Aedes aegypti mosquito in the parish.

“We have seen a significant trending down, and we are heading back to normalcy,” he told JIS News.

He said that following the declaration of an outbreak of dengue fever in January, the department’s capacity was enhanced with the addition of 29 temporary vector control workers from the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme and the Ministry of Health Vector Support Programme, bringing the total to 60.

They worked along with the eight permanent workers to destroy mosquito breeding grounds in the parish.

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Machine Learning Helps Identify Primate Species Likely to Spread Zika

From Contagion Live
April 8, 2019

Machine learning may be an important tool in controlling and eradicating the Zika virus, according to a recent study that used machine learning to predict the virus among primates in Central and South America.

The study by investigators at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and IBM was published in the journal Epidemics. The machine learning model identified known flavivirus carriers with 82% accuracy and predicted the risk of Zika among primate species.

“We were surprised to find that very common primate species were predicted to have high risk of carrying mosquito-borne flaviviruses, including Zika virus,” lead author Barbara A. Han, PhD, disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, told Contagion®. “In Central and South America, the possibility of spill-back infection (from humans to wild primates) is alarming. If Zika virus establishes a sylvatic cycle it could be exceedingly difficult to control.”

Those species with more than 90% risk scores for the virus included species common in developed areas: tufted capuchin, the Venezuelan red howler, and the white-faced capuchin.

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