LSU Health researchers: Stay vigilant about Zika transmission this winter

Researchers at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans are emphasizing the importance of keeping vigilant in the fight against the Zika virus — even as we enter the winter months.

In a paper published in Wilderness & Environmental Medicine, researchers detail characteristics of the Aedes aegypti species of mosquito, which transmits the Zika virus, their habitats and biting behaviors as well as control measures. They note that the Aedes species' eggs can survive in harsh conditions, including the winter season and when their source of water has evaporated.

Additionally, the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are primarily "daytime biters and sip feeders," said James Diaz, MD, professor and program director of environmental/occupational health sciences at LSU Health's school of public health. So it is a misconception that the public must take precautions only at dawn and dusk.

"What's more, researchers have shown that while relatively rare, Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are able to transmit Zika to their offspring, a mechanism allowing the virus to survive from one season to the next," Dr. Diaz said in a statement.

Dr. Diaz concluded that it is important to learn as much as possible about Zika transmission and its consequences, so we can protect ourselves and develop treatments.

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