As the weather warms, the mosquito that is spreading the Zika virus — Aedes aegypti — “will likely be increasingly abundant across much of the southern and eastern United States,” researchers say.
Weather, travel and poverty may impact Zika virus risk in the United States, according to a study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).
A team of scientists studied the possible timing and location of Zika virus risk in the U.S., and according to disease and mosquito experts the summertime weather is favourable for the mosquito populations to thrive, and that will make certain cities and populations more vulnerable to transmission.
“This research can help us anticipate the timing and location of possible Zika virus outbreaks in certain U.S. cities,” said NCAR scientist Andrew Monaghan in a statement.
“While there is much we still don’t know about the dynamics of Zika virus transmission, understanding where the Aedes aegypti mosquito can survive in the U.S. and how its abundance fluctuates seasonally may help guide mosquito control efforts and public health preparedness.”
Although the researchers did not have a specific prediction for this summer, they say the long-range warmer forecast is more suitable for Aedes aegypti.
During the study researchers looked at a variety of factors including climate, poverty and air travel to identify the cities at greatest risk. Two computer models looked at the effects of meteorological conditions on a mosquito’s entire lifecycle “in 50 cities in or near the known range of the species.” Several of the researchers have studied Aedes aegypti for years so have prior knowledge of existence and location in the U.S.
More from NCAR on the study:
The full study was published in PLOS Current Outbreaks.
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