Two men from northeast Nebraska are the latest cases of travel-related Zika virus.
The middle-aged men are the fifth and sixth cases of the disease in the state.
Jonathan Larson, Nebraska Extension entomologist, says Zika will not spread here with such a small number infected.
“There’s always a concern when you start to see a bigger well of the disease build up in a certain area. You don’t like to see more people coming back with it,” Larson tells Nebraska Radio Network. “The good news here in Nebraska is that we do not really have the kinds of mosquitoes that we need to transmit the disease.”
The Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are known to carry Zika, although the aegypti variety is the more common carrier.
“The normal mosquitoes that we deal with are usually culex mosquitoes, and those are the ones that transmit West Nile virus, which is a much bigger issue here in the state of Nebraska,” Larson says. “I hope people don’t forget it in the melee of Zika, because it’s actually here and it has a nice steady disease transmission cycle and causes [health] issues for some Nebraskans.”
There have been 16 reported cases of West Nile virus this year in the state, compared to six travel-related Zika cases.
The state health department reports more cases of travel-related Zika are likely in Nebraska.
Larson says it is important to use insect repellent to prevent bites and you should remove standing water in your yard to prevent more mosquitoes from breeding.