How the US can save millions by not treating the Zika virus
The United States is likely to have a shortage of some 1.6 million Zika-carrying mosquitoes by the end of this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.
That is a number far below the 1.8 million needed to meet CDC’s own target to contain the virus, which is set to become officially confirmed in the US by mid-May.
But the CDC is not yet sure how many Zika-infected mosquitoes there are, and the agency is still reviewing how to prepare for the spread of the virus.
That means the agency has yet to get to the bottom of exactly how many mosquitoes are infected in the country.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty about the number of mosquitoes that are infected,” CDC director Tom Frieden told reporters Thursday.
“I think that’s going to be one of the key determinations in the course of our response.”
Frieden said it’s unclear how many people have been infected in areas where the mosquito population has exploded.
The US has more than 700 million Zika infections, according to the CDC.
And the virus is not being transmitted through mosquito bites, as previously feared.
“The mosquitoes that carry the virus are not necessarily transmitting it through the blood or through saliva or through any other way,” Frieden said.
“They’re carrying it by their feces, by the urine, by their saliva.”
The CDC said Thursday that the agency will work to make sure that Zika-transmitted mosquitoes don’t infect other humans in the future.
The agency said it will also make sure people don’t become infected while traveling to places where there are Zika outbreaks.