Asian tiger mosquito, known to carry Zika virus, found in Michigan

Aedes aegypti mosquito

FILE – In this Jan. 27, 2016, file photo, an Aedes aegypti mosquito known to carry the Zika virus, is photographed through a microscope at the Fiocruz institute in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil. Sometime next year, genetically modified mosquitoes will be released in the Florida Keys in an effort to combat persistent insect-borne diseases such as Dengue fever and the Zika virus. The plan approved Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, by the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District calls for a pilot project in 2021 involving the striped-legged Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is not native to Florida. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The Asian tiger mosquito has been found in Michigan for the first time this year, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has announced.

Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito) and Aedes aegypti (the yellow fever mosquito) can transmit viruses like dengue, chikungunya and Zika to people.

The mosquito was found in Wayne County. It was also found in Wayne County in 2017, 2018, and 2020.

These mosquitoes are widespread in tropical areas, including in the United States, but they don’t naturally live in Michigan. Occasionally, they can travel in shipments from states where the mosquitoes are already established.

However, that may be changing. Due to warming climates, MDHHS said they are spreading to more northern areas.

“Although we have not had any illnesses associated with these species of mosquitoes in Michigan, it is important to take precautions since other mosquitoes can spread viruses such as West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis to people,” said Dr. Mary Grace Stobierski, MDHHS Emerging & Zoonotic Infectious Diseases manager. “Recent heavy rainfall and flooding has led to a general increase in mosquito activity throughout the state, so we urge Michiganders to take precautions such as using an EPA-registered insect repellent when outdoors.”

The Asian tiger mosquito can live in areas with climates ranging from tropical to temperate.

Here are some ways to avoid these mosquitoes:

  • Eliminating sources of standing water such as wading pools, old tires, buckets and containers by dumping water to prevent mosquito eggs from hatching or larvae from developing into biting adults.
  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when outdoors.
  • Applying an EPA-registered insect repellent according to label instructions.
  • Making sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens.
  • Using a licensed mosquito-control company.

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