Saturday July 15, 2017

Scientists scouring southern Canada for Zika-carrying mosquitos

(REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker)

Listen 9:36

Canadians are fortunate that our mosquitoes are mainly just nuisances. For the most part, they don't transmit terrible infections like malaria, dengue, yellow fever and Zika that are common in warmer areas. But scientists here are testing mosquitoes living here to make sure that's the case. 

Dr. Fiona Hunter, an entomology professor at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, and her team, including student and mosquito-chaser Bryan Giordano, are setting traps for wild mosquitoes. They then test their captured mosquitos to see if they can carry Zika, by comparing them to the species that are known to spread the virus to humans. 

But they were surprised to find a tropical mosquito - one known to carry Zika in southern climes - in one of their traps. Somehow it had made its way from its southern home to southern Ontario.

Hunter says this could happen more often as a warming climate and global commerce move invasive species here.