Early data from new lab tests reopen question of non-Aedes vectors
ORLANDO, Fla. — New evidence from separate labs supports the controversial idea that an overlooked and unexpected Culex mosquito might spread Zika virus.
The southern house mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus, is common in the Americas. Constância Ayres, working with Brazil’s Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Recife, previously surprised Zika researchers with the disturbing proposal that this mosquito might be a stealth spreader of Zika. But two U.S. research groups tested the basic idea and couldn’t get the virus to infect the species.
Now, preliminary results from Ayres’ and two other research groups are renewing the discussion. The data, shared September 26 at the International Congress of Entomology, suggest that Zika can build up in the house mosquito’s salivary glands — a key step in being able to transmit disease. Basic insect physiology is only part of the puzzle, though. Even if the mosquitoes prove