Recent national news reports on Zika virus in Texas commanded everyone's full attention. Not only in Texas, but across the U.S., this virus that was once only found in South America, Africa, and Asia, is quickly spreading in North America.
As the San Antonio and South Texas mosquito experts, count on us to keep you up to date and informed on the potentials risks and latest prevention strategies for these incurable mosquito-borne viruses.
Not too long ago, Zika virus initially only occurred in Africa and Asia near the equator. Since then, it has spread eastward across the Pacific to French Polynesia, then to South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. The virus is transmitted through mosquito bites from the infected Aedes species of mosquitoes. Aedes mosquitoes become infected when they bite someone already infected. The mosquitoes then lay their eggs in stagnant bodies of water, usually found in flower pots, bird baths, buckets, or animal bowls. These types of mosquitoes also prefer to bite humans, and are aggressive in the daytime. Unfortunately, at this time, there is no vaccine or cure for the Zika virus.
The most important modes of prevention of Zika virus in San Antonio and South Texas:
At Mosquito Squad, our priority is both our customers’ safety and their awareness of potential issues. We promise to keep you informed, via social media and this site, on any Zika virus news in San Antonio, Bexar and surrounding counties.
Our mosquito control services are effective against mosquitoes and can serve as a vital precaution to help prevent the spread of the Zika virus. If you have questions on how to reduce the mosquito population on your property, please contact us at 210-876-3677 or connect with us by alerting The Squad here.
Researchers have now found a way to genetically alter the Aedes aegypti mosquito to prevent natural reproduction, in turn reducing the population of the species. While this method has not been widely tested yet, it seems to be a promising way to control the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is notoriously hard to eradicate.
A team of researchers at the Fralin Life Science Institute at Virginia Tech recently made a breakthrough in genetic research that could improve our ability to genetically modify mosquitoes to stop the spread of Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases.
These researchers have officially sequenced the Y chromosome of the Anopheles gambiae mosquito, which is the species that transmits malaria. The Y chromosome is what determines the sex and male fertility in mosquitoes.
Until now, the Y chromosome could not be definitively or fully sequenced. This discovery has the potential to greatly improve mosquito control strategies that rely on genetic modification to create more males than females or to create sterile females. Male mosquitoes don’t bite, and are therefore harmless to humans. Creating sterile females prevents the species from reproducing.
A recent article in ScienceDaily explains the Virginia Tech team’s findings and why these are so crucial.
“Thirteen years after the publication of a draft genome of the Anopheles gambiae mosquito, we’ve finally characterized its Y chromosome,” said co-author Zhijian Jake Tu, a professor of biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a Fralin Life Science Institute affiliate. “This is one of the last pieces of the puzzle. Having the Y will help us figure out the genetic basis of male biology in future studies.”
The new information about the Y chromosome will facilitate efforts to reduce female mosquitoes or create sterile males–strategies of interest to research teams across the world.
“The Y chromosome had previously not been characterized because it mostly consists of repetitive DNA sequences that stump the algorithms used by computers to assemble the mosquito’s entire genetic make-up,” said co-author Brantley Hall of Christiansburg, Va., a doctoral student in the genetics, bioinformatics and computational biology program.
“We were able to get around this obstacle (at least partially) by using a new long single-molecule sequencing technology, a new bioinformatics algorithm specifically designed to identify Y sequences, and physical mapping of DNA directly to the Y chromosome,” said co-author Igor Sharakhov, an associate professor of entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a Fralin Life Science Institute affiliate. “Our study provides a long-awaited foundation for studying mosquito Y chromosome biology and evolution.”
“Our combined efforts have resulted in the most extensive characterization of Y chromosome to date in additional malaria vectors as well, which will help identify targeted vector control approaches for different species,” said co-author Atashi Sharma, a doctoral student in the department of entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
This research will likely prove to be indispensable as disease control experts develop and test new methods to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses. This particular study focuses on malaria prevention efforts, but these findings also have the potential to be applied to other species and diseases, including Zika.
As always, you should follow mosquito control guidelines to keep your family safe. Contact Mosquito Squad today to find out more about our effective treatment options that can keep your backyard protected from menacing mosquitoes.