University of Florida scientists find way to detect Zika virus in mosquitoes

In PCT Magazine

A University of Florida entomologist is working with other scientists to detect the Zika virus in minutes, rather than days or weeks, allowing for faster and more targeted mosquito control practices and detection in patient samples.

Zika can lead to multiple symptoms in adults, including fever, rash, headache and joint pain. It also can cause microcephaly, a condition that causes infants to be born with a head that’s much smaller than that of a normal baby. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 5,102 symptomatic Zika cases in the U.S. in 2016. Of those, 224 people got the virus by a mosquito in their area, rather than from a mosquito overseas. There have been 123 Zika cases in the U.S. from Jan. 1 through May 31, 2017. Florida has reported 46 cases so far in 2017 due to international travel. The numbers may get higher as we start the rainy season, when mosquitoes are more likely to bite and thus, spread viruses like Zika.

In a new study, scientists – including Barry Alto from the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences – show how they use tools to find Zika RNA in mosquitoes tested at a UF/IFAS lab. Alto helped prepare virus-infected samples used by Ozlem Yaren, the first author on the paper that describes this study.

Go to PCT Magazine for the rest of this story.

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