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Common mosquito cannot transmit Zika virus

Staff Writer | September 8, 2016
Brazilian scientists have denied that the common mosquito known as Culex can transmit the Zika virus, saying that the Aedes aegypti mosquito is known to be a main vector of the disease.
Aedes aegypti
Virus   The teams analyzed 1,600 mosquitoes
At a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, scientists from the Oswaldo Cruz Institute said that a study carried out with the Pasteur Institute in Paris had ruled out the Culex as a vector.

The teams analyzed 1,600 mosquitoes collected from five different regions across Brazil. Half were Culex and half were Aedes aegypti. They were tested to determine their suitability as Zika vectors.

The scientists mixed the two groups together and fed them jointly with blood carrying the Zika virus.

They found that between 80 and 100 percent of the Aedes aegypti carried the virus, with a great quantity in their saliva. However, none of the Culex mosquitoes showed the same result.

The results were published Tuesday in the PLoS (Public Library of Science) Neglected Tropical Diseases.

"We examined the saliva of the common mosquito to see if we could detect the virus but we found no Zika. This convinced us that this mosquito is not capable of transmitting it," said Ricardo Lourenco, a veterinarian from the the Oswaldo Cruz Institute, who led the project.

This study contradicted findings in July from the state-owned Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, in which researchers said the Zika virus had been found in the saliva of the Culex though its ability to transmit the virus remained unknown.