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Health Alert: Two New Virus Tropical Disease-Carrying Mosquitoes Uncovered In Florida

First Posted: Jan 11, 2017 02:24 AM EST
Arizona Officials Battle West Nile Virus
A Culex tarsalis female mosquito that was caught in a trap is held by tweezers will be tested for the presence of the West Nile virus at the Arizona Department of Health Services laboratory Aug. 11, 2004, in Phoenix, Arizona. More than 270 people in Arizona have been infected with the virus, the most in the country this year, and three have died from the virus. (Image for representation only.)

(Photo : Jeff Topping/Getty Images)

The researchers at the University of Florida discovered two new tropical mosquitoes that can carry viruses to humans. They found them in Homestead and Florida City.

The findings of the discovery were printed in the Journal of Medical Entomology and the journal Acta Tropica. The researchers found mosquitoes, which are native to Central and South America and the Greater Antilles, on plants and might spread on canals, ponds and ditches in South Florida. They will certainly multiply.

Nathan Burkett-Cadena, an entomologist at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, said that "hundreds" is substantial (referring to the number of mosquitoes), particularly when one gets a hundred from a single trap. He further said that this is not a single specimen that blew in from a storm, rather this is a reproducing species.

CtPost reports that there are 15 invasive mosquitoes living now in Florida. These include the nine mosquitoes that arrived in the last decade. Burkett-Cadena said that the new arrivals are another sign that climate change, along with increased tourism and global trade, has made Florida more hospitable to exotic species.

The new Florida mosquito could infect humans with Everglades virus, which is an alphavirus that is included in the Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus complex. It causes a delirious illness with infrequent neurological manifestations.

The Everglades virus is transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes that belong to the genus Culex, particularly the Culex cedecei. Burkett-Cadena also said that the new Culex species in Florida lives closer to civilization, potentially heightening the risk of Everglades virus exposure.

Health officials are now acting on this issue and possibly more research will be conducted. Mara Gambineri, the spokeswoman for Florida Department of Health said that they have seen in Florida some invasive mosquito species that have become significant and others that have not.

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