Mosquito Surveillance Program in the Racine Area-Looking for the mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus
The City of Racine Public Health Department is participating in a surveillance study conducted by the Wisconsin
Department of Health Services to determine if there are any local populations of the Asian tiger mosquito on the southernand western borders of Wisconsin.
Zika virus is an emerging issue in the United States, primarily in Florida and Puerto Rico. There are currently eleven
confirmed Zika virus cases in Wisconsin and all are related to recent travel.
The Zika virus is known to be transmitted by Aedes aegypti, the yellow fever mosquito, which does not occur in
Wisconsin. However, a secondary vector may be Aedes albopictus, the Asian tiger mosquito. The Asian tiger mosquito has been found in Minnesota repeatedly, at one location in Iowa, and in the southern three-fourths of Illinois. At this time, it is not known whether any local populations of this mosquito occur in Wisconsin.
Under the advisement of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the City of Racine Public Health Department has established fourteen surveillance sites in the Racine area. A container has been placed at each site and will be examined for mosquito eggs on a weekly basis. If there are eggs present, they will be packaged and shipped to the UW Medical Entomology Lab for complete analysis to determine the type of mosquito.
“This surveillance program will provide the State of Wisconsin with necessary information to produce a strategic plan to prevent Zika virus cases in humans.” said Marcia Fernholz, Director of Environmental Health at the City of Racine Public Health Department.
As a container mosquito, the Asian tiger mosquito deposits its eggs on the sides of water-holding containers,
Containers include tires, potted plant saucers, tree holes, bottles, cups, pet dishes, flower vases, bird baths, cisterns,
buckets, and clogged roof gutters.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Zika virus spreads to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus). Many people infected with Zika will not have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms. The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes. Pregnant women are at highest risk of complications, because Zika virus during pregnancy can cause babies to have a birth defect of the brain called microcephaly.
Since there is no vaccine to prevent Zika virus, the best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes is to protect
yourself and your family from mosquito bites and eliminate containers standing water where the mosquitoes lay their eggs. Avoid being outside during times of high mosquito activity, specifically around dawn and dusk. When outside, use effective mosquito repellant and apply according to the label instructions, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes. In addition, keep window screens repaired so that mosquitoes cannot enter your home. For more information, please visit https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/arboviral/zika.htm