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Zika virus is unlikely to reach Ohio, but it's possible
One of the mosquitoes that carries the Zika virus has been found in Ohio
by WKSU's JEFF ST. CLAIR


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Jeff St. Clair
 
The Yellow Fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, is the main carrier of Zika virus. The virus can also be transmitted by its cousin Aedes albopictus, the Asian tiger mosquito, which has been found in Ohio.
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Travelers are being warned to avoid areas of South America where mosquitos carrying the Zika virus are being blamed for a rash of birth defects.

Fortunately the tropical mosquito doesn’t live in Midwest. But WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair reports that a northeast Ohio researcher says we could still be at risk.

LISTEN: Zika virus on the move

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Laura Sirot studies mosquito borne diseases at the College of Wooster.

She says the Zika virus is primarily carried by a mosquito called Aedes aegypti, also known as the Yellow Fever mosquito. That species is already present in parts of Florida, Texas, Arizona and California, and could eventually carry Zika.

The virus is also carried by a cousin called the Asian tiger mosquito, which has been found as far north as Ohio.

Sirot says these mosquitoes breed in discarded tires.

“And those tires would be transported from one state to another, and then if it rained again, the eggs can hatch out," says Sirot, "And so they can be transported unintentionally and then hatch out in a new place.”

This month about a dozen cases of Zika virus have turned up in people returning to the U.S from abroad.

Sirot says there’s no evidence yet that any mosquitoes in North America carry the disease.

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Aedes albopictus, or the Asian tiger mosquito is an invasive mosquito found through much of the southern US. It can carry the Zika virus, but it's rare.
College of Wooster professor Laura Sirot studies disease transmission by mosquitoes.
 
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