The Northern Kentucky Health Department is now conducting surveillance of mosquitoes in the area as part of an effort to combat the Zika virus.

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TheZikavirus, which is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito, usually featuressymptoms offever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. About 1 in 5 people infected with Zikawill get sick. For people who get sick, the illness is usually mild, so many people might not realize they have been infected.

While all cases ofZikavirus reported in the continental United States to date have been connected to travel (in individuals who were infected themselves while traveling or the virus was sexually transmitted from a person who traveled), the potential forZikato be directly transmitted to mosquitoes and eventually to humans in the U.S.預nd in Northern Kentucky容xists.

Last month it was made known that Northern Kentucky had its first confirmed case of the virus.

Now, the Health Department is actively trapping mosquitoes for the purpose of monitoring.

Monitoring of local mosquitoes can help public health officials determine risk forZikavirus locally by looking at which species are circulating in the region, the agency said in a news release. When necessary, Northern Kentucky mosquitoes will also be tested for the presence ofZika. Traps have been set in Boone, Kenton, Campbell, and Grant Counties - the four counties that make up the Northern Kentucky Independent Health District.

Only certain species of mosquitoes are known to carryZika葉wo types of the Aedes species, the Aedes aegyptiand Aedes albopictus.

These species of mosquitoes ARE found in Northern Kentucky, but in relatively small numbers. The Aedes species are more common in tropical climates as they do not survive as well in climates with cold seasons.

Similar trapping was done to monitor for West Nile virus; however, this process is different in that:
  • Traps are designed to be more condusive to catching the Aedes mosquitoes (West Nile trapping aimed primarily at the Culex species ).
  • Traps are designed to collect mosquitoes during day and night葉his is important because Aedes mosquitoes are active during day. Mosquitoes that carry West Nile are typically active at dawn/dusk.
Traps contain dry ice, CO2, and a light.

Mosquitoes are collected from the traps and then specially trained Health Department staff will sort by species. This information will be logged in a database.

Understanding which species of mosquitoes are circulating in our area can help us understand the risk of infection withZikalocally.

When it becomes necessary洋ost likely when there are significant numbers ofZika-infected mosquitoes found elsewhere in the U.S. or when there are significant numbers of humans who have not traveled outside the U.S. and are infected withZika葉hen the Health Department will work with the Kentucky Department for Public Health and the University of Kentucky to have Northern Kentucky mosquitoes tested in the lab for theZikavirus.

-Staff report

Photos provided