Zika Threat Has Infiltrated the United States According to New Maps

mosquitofeature
(Photo: Instagram / @ahmed92emin)

Better keep the bug spray closer than ever this summer! 

Mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus have been found to live in nearly all states in the U.S., according to new maps released by authorities trying to assess the threat, Huffington Post reports.

The two species known to carry the virus, the yellow fever and Asian tiger mosquitoes, can live in the northernmost states of the country including Michigan, New Hamsphire, Washington, and Minnesota. 

The Zika virus is linked to several cases of the birth defect microcephaly in Brazil. Microcephaly is marked by small head size and can lead to severe developmental problems in babies.

Until now, the Zika virus has only been found in the United States in territories of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These new maps utilize data back to 1995, including information from the CDC, and find that mosquitoes that carry the virus are in about a third of the 3,141 counties in the United States.

“Accurate and up-to-date information for the geographical ranges of Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus in the United States is urgently needed,” authors of a paper containing the maps wrote this week in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

The World Health Organization has officially advised women in areas where the virus is present to delay pregnancy.