Asian tiger mosquitoes, known to carry illnesses, found in Michigan

Published: Jun. 26, 2020 at 4:09 PM EDT
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(6/26/2020) - Michigan public health officials are warning that an invasive mosquito species known to carry deadly viruses has been found in Michigan.

Asian tiger mosquitoes were found in Wayne County, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The mosquito species first was identified in an industrial area of Livonia in 2017 and in an industrial area of Romulus in 2018. The discovery this week came in an industrial area in Taylor.

Asian tiger mosquitoes can transmit viruses such as dengue, chikungunya and Zika to people. The are widespread in areas with warm climates year-round, but they generally can't survive a Michigan winter.

However, they are established in parts of Ohio, Illinois and Indiana. They likely traveled to Michigan from one of those areas with a commercial shipment, health officials say.

"Although we have not had any illnesses associated with these species of mosquitoes in Michigan, it is important to take precautions since other mosquitoes can spread viruses such as West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis to people,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan's chief medical executive.

The public is urged to take mosquito precautions, such as wearing a bug repellent with DEET and remaining indoors at dusk, to avoid bites. Residents also should get rid of standing water outdoors, which can allow mosquitoes to breed.