DENVER (CBS4)– The mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus are not in Colorado but travelers to those countries where the insects live are being warned.
The U.S. Virgin Islands has reported its first case of the mosquito-borne virus. There have been cases reported in Mexico, Haiti, Puerto Rico and across South America. The illness can cause flu-like symptoms and possible birth defects.
Brazil has claimed that thousands of babies have been born with brain injuries after their mothers were bitten by Ades Egypti mosquitoes. Health experts in that country are urging women who are trying to get pregnant to wait until the crisis is under control.
“We actually don’t have that mosquito here in Colorado,” said Dr. Jennifer House with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment.
The concern is what happens if you travel to warm, moist climates that have the Ades Egypti mosquito, mostly in the Americas but also in the U.S.
“It goes as far north as the Carolinas and the southeastern states, particularly Florida and Texas… they do have the mosquito,” said House.
She believes it’s only a matter of time before the Zika virus may spread north beyond Mexico.
“This particular mosquito prefers to bite humans,” said House.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also concerned about the Ades Egypti mosquito causing paralysis. House recommends using an insect repellent with DEET.
“The important thing to remember is they are daytime biters. Normally here in Colorado we worry about the evening biters but this one is a daytime biter,” said House.
The CDC recommends using an insect repellent with a higher percentage of DEET. An investigation is underway in Colorado as to when the environment may allow the Ades Egypti mosquito to breed in this climate, if ever.
Howard Nathan is a veteran newsman. Decades later, he still enjoys writing a clever sentence, asking the tough question and talking to people in Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Howard and read his bio.