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Asian tiger mosquitoes back in Wayne County

The Detroit News

They're baaack!

The invasive Asian tiger mosquito, which can spread diseases such as dengue, chikungunya and Zika, has been spotted in Wayne County, state and local health departments said Friday.

The mosquitoes were discovered in Michigan for the first time in 2017, in an industrial area of Livonia, and found the next year in an industrial area of Romulus, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Wayne County Health Department.

This time, the mosquito was discovered in an industrial area in Taylor, the agencies said in a news release.

This picture from the National Pest Management Association is of an Asian Tiger Mosquito.

The mosquitoes are widespread in tropical and temperate regions, including nearby states such as Ohio and Indiana, but they don't occur naturally in Michigan, where winters are usually too harsh for them to survive. Climate change, however, is helping them spread north.

“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, the state's chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health. “We urge Michiganders to take precautions such as using an EPA-registered insect repellent when outdoors.”

This summer, state health officials are working with local health departments in Wayne and 23 other counties in Michigan to conduct surveillance for the two mosquito species that can carry Zika and other tropical viruses. The invasive day-biting mosquitoes breed in containers where water collects, such as discarded tires, gutters and flowerpots.

Michigan residents can prevent mosquito bites by:

  • Eliminating sources of standing water
  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when outdoors.
  • Applying an EPA-registered insect repellent according to label instructions.
  • Making sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens.

For more information about mosquito-borne viruses and mosquito surveillance in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/emergingdiseases