As of February 2017, there have been 57 reported cases of Zika virus across the Philippines. Of this number, 7 were pregnant women, aged 16 to 32.
As you may already know, Zika has been known to cause birth defects in babies, chief of which is microcephaly. Though it’s no longer a pressing concern worldwide, the efforts to know how to combat it better are still underway.
It’s a widely known fact that the same mosquito which carries dengue, or Aedes Egypti, also carries Zika. This is endemic to our country. But not everyone knows that another type of mosquito could also potentially carry the virus.
Known as Aedes albopictus or the Asian Tiger Mosquito, its potential to carry the Zika virus was discovered by a research team from the University of Florida, who examined the eggs of the said mosquito in Brazil.
In an interview with Tech Times, the study’s lead author Dr. Chelsea Smartt referred to it as a “common backyard mosquito.” In fact, the Asian Tiger Mosquito is very common worldwide and “has a wide range of hosts and has adapted to colder climates.”
The Asian Tiger Mosquito can be found in your own backyard
According to their analysis, components of the virus were found in male mosquitos, which they interpreted to mean that the virus was hereditary. They also discovered traces of live Zika virus, which could suggest that the females mosquitoes were not actually infected when they laid the eggs or that live Zika virus could not be transmitted from parent to eggs.
“Our results mean that Aedes albopictus may have a role in Zika virus transmission,” shares Dr. Smartt.
However, further studies are needed to support their claim.
“There is a need to investigate the role of Ae. albopictus in the Zika infection process in Brazil and to study the potential presence of vertical and sexual transmission of Zika in this species,” she continued.
To find out more about Zika in the Philippines, click here.
READ: Pregnant 16-year-old tests positive for Zika virus in Las Piñas
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