Vectors for Zika virus may spread further than was previously thought, CDC reports
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The combined range of the two mosquito species that transmit the Zika virus includes most of the eastern and central United States and extends as far north as Minnesota and Maine, a new assessment by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found. The primary Zika virus vector, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, tends to inhabit tropical and subtropical regions, but a second species that can also transmit the virus, Aedes albopictus, can survive in more temperate areas and has the potential to spread further north, as shown on maps released by the CDC on 30 March.1 Earlier assessments had indicated that these species were primarily found in the south. To date, no cases of locally acquired mosquito-borne infections in the continental US have been reported, and the CDC noted that the presence of these mosquitoes does not indicate a high transmission risk if the virus enters these regions. Other factors determine whether the virus will be spread in a particular locality, the CDC said, such as the number of mosquitoes in an area, their feeding habits, proximity to people, and ability to transmit the virus.