Zika Outbreak 2016 News & Update: Dozen U.S. Cities At Risk From Mosquitoes-Borne Virus

By Vlad Tverdohleb, Parent Herald March 18, 02:01 am

A new research estimates the mosquitoes that transmit the Zika virus are likely to emerge in the United States and that 50 U.S. cities may be at risk for a potential Zika outbreak.

According to the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), in Boulder, Colorado, cited by CBS News, the most at risk of a Zika outbreak are cities up the East Coast as far north as New York City. Also at risk of Zika virus are cities in the southeast, especially Florida as well as those in the region across the south stretching as far as Los Angeles and Phoenix.

Even if the mosquito-borne Zika virus would start to spread in the United States, experts explain that there is no need to panic. The Zika outbreaks in the United States would be kept much smaller than those in Latin America, thanks to the living habits of Americans.

Researchers at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and NCAR have created computer simulations using data on mosquito breeding patterns, air travel, climate and socioeconomic status in order to predict which areas are most prone to a Zika virus outbreak.

A statement from NCAR declared that as the weather gets warmer, the Aedes aegypti mosquito spreading the Zika virus will likely be increasing across the Eastern and Southern United States. The research has been published in PLOS Current Outbreaks.

Orlando and Miami, Florida, are among the cities at highest risk. Another city at high risk of a Zika outbreak is Houston due to its large volume of travelers coming from affected regions.

Mosquito expert Phil Lounibos, a professor at the department of entomology at the University of Florida, declared that there is concern that the Zika virus could also be carried by the related Aedes albopictus or tiger mosquito, in addition to Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Aedes albopictus can live in cooler climates. According to the study, some cities such as Denver and St. Louis that don't currently have Aedes aegypti mosquitoes have summer weather conditions that could support the species.

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