IF Zika virus was to hit Queensland a mosquito found in the Bundaberg region could spread the virus rapidly.
IF Zika virus was to hit Queensland a mosquito found in the Bundaberg region could spread the virus rapidly. Chris Ison

ZIKA ZONE: Mozzie virus could spread rapidly in region

IF ZIKA virus was to hit Queensland a mosquito found in the Bundaberg region could spread the virus rapidly.

Research from Queensland University of Technology Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation has found 50 to 60 per cent of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes could effectively transmit the virus 14 days after becoming infected, compared with about 10 per cent of the Asian tiger mosquitoes.

In 2016, Bundaberg Regional Council found Aedes aegypti mosquitoes during a routine inspection program at Childers. It was also found two years earlier at Gin Gin.

Senior researcher Francesca Frentiu said the discovery of Zika in the ovaries of the dengue mosquitoes indicated another potential route of infection transmission through mosquito populations.

ZIKA ZONE: Senior researcher Francesca Frentiu said the discovery of Zika in the ovaries of the dengue mosquitoes indicated another potential route of infection transmission through mosquito populations.
ZIKA ZONE: Senior researcher Francesca Frentiu said the discovery of Zika in the ovaries of the dengue mosquitoes indicated another potential route of infection transmission through mosquito populations. QUT media

In Brazil, Aedes aegypti eggs were collected and hatched and the larvae tested, and Zika was found in the larvae.

"It is possible that if infected larvae were able to reach maturity still infected with Zika, they could then pass the virus to humans,” Dr Frentiu said.

With the virus effectively being transmitted a fortnight after the mozzie is infected, Dr Frentiu said it was possible the virus could spread efficiently.

"So in that time frame, about half of the mosquitoes were able to transmit the virus through their saliva,” Dr Frentiu said.

Zika came to prominence during 2016 when there was an outbreak in Brazil. It causes dengue-like symptoms and, more dangerously, birth defects.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is able to transmit a number of viruses including dengue, chikungunya and zika from one infected person to another.

So far this year, only one case of dengue has been reported in Wide Bay, according to Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service data.

Only 15 cases of another mosquito-borne illness, Ross River fever, have been reported this year. Over the previous five years, an average of 57 cases had been reported so far.

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