As public health officials and citizens prepare for local outbreaks of the Zika virus across the continental United States, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention released a new map of the US showing exactly where mosquitoes that can carry the Zika virus live.
According to the map, made by CDC experts and shared in the Journal of Medical Entomology, the particular species of mosquitoes that can transmit the diseases reside within 40 states as well as Washington DC. As mosquito season progresses and thousands of travelers are returning from Latin America and the Caribbean with the Zika infection, mosquitoes in these areas have the potential to spread the virus to other citizens.
Aedes aegypti, which can also carry yellow fever, and Aedes albopictus are the two species of mosquitoes that can spread the Zika virus to others after biting an infected person.
"Between January 1995 and March 2016, 183 counties from 26 states and the District of Columbia reported the occurrence of Aedes aegypti, and 1,241 counties from 40 states and the District of Columbia reported the occurrence of Aedes albopictus," Micah Hahn and colleagues from the CDC wrote in the Journal of Medical Entomology.
There are currently 618 Zika cases within the continental US, and according to NBC, experts say they believe that there are thousands more that haven't been reported. The CDC is also tracking 195 women who are pregnant with Zika within the continental US, as well as 146 infected expecting moms in US territories.