Zika virus: Ohio State expert available to speak about disease-carrying mosquitoes

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WOOSTER, Ohio — Peter Piermarini, an entomologist with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University, is available to speak with the media about the mosquitoes that transmit Zika virus, which is now present throughout Latin America and has also infected more than 30 people in the U.S. who contracted the disease while traveling abroad.

In Brazil, Zika virus has been linked to cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Zika virus is transmitted by species of Aedes mosquitoes, but Aedes aegypti appears to be the most efficient,” said Piermarini, an expert on disease-transmitting mosquitoeswhose research seeks alternative ways to control these insects. “Aedes aegypti is not found in Ohio, but it is common in the southern U.S., especially Florida and the Gulf Coast.”

Piermarini said that other Aedes species are found in Ohio, but “their capacity to transmit the Zika virus is not well described,” and it’s unlikely they would bring the virus into Ohio.

“The only scenario I could envision for Zika entering Ohio is if an infected person comes into the state and is bit by a mosquito species that can transmit it to another person,” Piermarini explained. “However, the only time of the year that is likely to happen is over the summer, and even then the chances are very low without the presence of Aedes aegypti.”

Piermarini can be contacted at piermarini.1@osu.edu or 330-263-3641.

 

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