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New maps show Zika-carrying mosquitoes could hit all of midstate

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Apr 4, 2016 5:39 PM
zika_virus_mosquitoes.jpg

In this Feb. 1, 2016 photo, a technician from the British biotec company Oxitec holds a container of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that were genetically modified to produce offspring that don't live, in Campinas, Brazil, before releasing them into the wild as part of an effort to kill the local Aedes population, a vector for the Zika virus. The concern is not the disease itself, Zika's immediate effects are mild, consisting mostly of a moderate fever and a rash, and only a fifth of those afflicted notice any symptoms. But Brazilian authorities say also they have detected a spike in cases of microcephaly, which leaves infants with unusually small heads and can result in brain damage and a host of developmental and health problems. The link between Zika and microcephaly is as yet unproven. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

(Harrisburg) -- The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has documented a Zika virus case in nearly every state.

And it's also expanding maps showing the habitats of mosquitoes that can carry the virus.

The CDC now says two types of mosquitoes that can carry Zika virus are likely to be found throughout the entire midstate.

One species is especially known for feeding on humans instead of animals.

The revised projections come as it gets warmer and health officials brace for more cases of the virus, which is especially dangerous for pregnant women.

Neil Shader, spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, says its annual West Nile monitoring program hasn't started yet.

"But we are keeping an eye on any potential developments with the spread of Zika and any possibility that we might need to take action in terms of stepping up surveillance and mosquito control."

Shader says he was surprised at the projections.

"The CDC maps are estimates of the potential range of these two mosquitoes. The Aedes aegypti hasn't been found in the state since 2002. And I think most importantly that there are some very simple things that people can do to cut down on the number of mosquitoes in their own areas."

Shader says people can help by removing standing water on their property and using bug spray when outside.

So far, each U.S. resident diagnosed with Zika reportedly contracted it while traveling outside the country.

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