© 2024 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Upstate NY climate keeps Zika mosquitos away

Tom Magnarelli
Dr. Indu Gupta (right) gives a presentation on the Zika Virus to the Onondaga County Legislature health committee.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there have been 52 confirmed cases of Zika virus infections from travelers returning to the United States from infected areas. The concern is that mosquitoes in the U.S. will bite an infected person and spread the disease.

Dr. Indu Gupta, the Onondaga County health commissioner, said there have been three documented cases of Zika in New York State so far but admits there are more.

“We have returning travelers who have tested positive for Zika,” Gupta said. “We do not have any local transmission at this point which is comforting to us. But we should be vigilant about protecting ourselves.”

Gupta said based on the climate and types of mosquitos in upstate New York, there are no concerns of the Zika virus popping up in the local mosquito population.

"We do not have any concern in Onondaga County at this point considering what kind of mosquito population we have," Gupta said.

The virus is carried by the Aedes species of mosquitoes. There are two types, Aedes aegypti, more commonly found in the southern U.S. is effective at transmitting the virus. Aedes albopictus which is in some parts of New York State, mainly downstate and the New York City area, has not been shown to transmit Zika yet. No local transmissions have been found in the continental United States.

People become infected when they are bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus which stays in a person’s bloodstream for about one week.

Travel advisories, especially for pregnant women, have been in issued for countries in Central and South America, the Caribbean and the Pacific which have active Zika virus transmissions.

“Countries where there has been local transmission is defined by the mosquitoes have been infected there and if they bite you they are going to give you the infection,” Gupta said.

Anyone who has traveled to infected areas and has symptoms such as a fever, rash or joint pain should get tested for the virus. Pregnant women are at risk because the virus can cause miscarriages or neurological problems in babies.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.