Add Socorro County to the list of New Mexico counties with mosquitoes capable of transmitting Zika virus.
Researchers have found Aedes aegypti — one of two mosquito species capable of transmitting the viral illness — in the City of Socorro, the New Mexico Department of Health said today.
Socorro marks the northern-most location of Aedes aegypti yet found in the state.
No human cases of Zika virus have been identified in Socorro County to date.
There have been no confirmed cases of Zika virus in New Mexico residents this year.
In 2016, 10 cases of Zika virus disease were reported in New Mexico, but none were infected locally. In each case, travelers were infected abroad and diagnosed after they returned home.
Researchers at New Mexico State University under contract with DOH are mapping the range and distribution of both Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus — the two species that can transmit Zika virus to people.
The work began in 2016 when the viral illness was linked to severe birth defects in Brazil and other nations in the Americas.
These species of mosquitoes become infected when they take blood from a person already infected with the virus. Once infected, the mosquitoes can bite and infect other people.
Aedes aegypti mosquitoes have been trapped and identified in Doña Ana, Eddy, Chaves, Sierra, Lea, Otero, Hidalgo, and Socorro counties. Aedes albopictus has been found in Roosevelt County.