A species of mosquito capable of carrying the Zika virus has been found for the first time in Dane County, officials said Monday, although researchers stressed there is no evidence of Zika-infected mosquitoes in Wisconsin and the risk of contracting the mainly tropical disease remains “unlikely.”
The discovery marked the first documentation of the species, Aedes albopictus, commonly known as the Asian tiger mosquito, in Wisconsin, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
Zika is primarily spread by another type of mosquito, the Aedes aegypti, which has not been found in Wisconsin or other neighboring states.
The Asian tiger mosquito will sometimes lay its eggs in water-holding containers, such as rain barrels or tires.
Three mosquito larvae were discovered last week at a tire facility in Monona, in traps set by the University’s Entomology Lab in a water-filled tire. After the larvae hatched this weekend, researchers discovered they were Asian tiger mosquitoes.
Teams with the University’s lab are beginning to look for the mosquito in other parts of the state to figure out how widespread the species is. The Asian tiger mosquito has been discovered in Minnesota and Iowa previously, without the species becoming established or transmitting the Zika virus, officials said.