- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
The UC Mosquito Research Laboratory at Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center is the epicenter of California research on the Aedes aegypti mosquito, a tiny, black and white mosquito that can spread the Zika virus.
Aedes aegypti were first identified in California in June 2013, when they were found in the San Joaquin Valley communities of Clovis and Madera. They have now been detected in certain Fresno County neighborhoods, plus the Bay Area, and Southern California, according to the California Department of Public Health.
To date, the Zika virus hasn't been found in the California mosquitoes, however with thousands of Americans traveling to Brazil for the 2016 Olympics, plus travelers regularly visiting other countries with outbreaks of Zika, some could be carriers of the virus when they come home.
Entomologist Anthony Cornel, Ph.D., is working with the Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District (CMAD) on research projects aimed at controlling this new mosquito menace. Strategies include: developing effective insecticide treatment strategies, making the female mosquitoes infertile, reducing standing water where mosquitoes breed, and using genetics to understand mosquito population movement. Read more.