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New mosquito species that may be a carrier of dengue near Yucatan

by Yucatan Times
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Aedes Vittatus detected in Cuba

MÉRIDA, Yucatan (BBC).- A new species of mosquito could appear at any moment in the Yucatan Peninsula, as researchers have detected its presence in Cuba and other Caribbean countries such as the Dominican Republic.

It is the species Aedes Vittatus, which is known in other regions of the planet but not registered in the American continent.

Entomologist Pedro M. Alarcón-Elbal, an expert in vector-borne diseases and professor of Tropical Medicine and Global Health at the Universidad Iberoamericana (Unibe) in Santo Domingo, found this mosquito in 2019 in the capital of the Dominican Republic.

Scientific studies in the last four months detailed the discovery in Dominican territory, as well as another finding made by U.S. scientists at the Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba.

The presence of the Aedes vittatus species in the Americas raised alarm among researchers.

“Although the vectorial capacity of Aedes vittatus has not been studied in-depth, it is known that within its native range it plays an important role in the maintenance and transmission of various viruses such as yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya, and zika,” explained Alarcón-Elbal.

For Alarcón-Elbal, the finding of Aedes vittatus in the Americas “has significant implications for the ecosystem and human health, in the latter case if its capacity to transmit pathogens in the Caribbean is proven.”

“Undoubtedly, this introduction may represent a change in the epidemiological scenario of endemic diseases such as dengue, adding, if possible, a greater degree of complexity in its control,” the expert said.

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