HOUSTON, July 25 (Xinhua) -- Researchers in New Mexico have identified the mosquito with Zika virus for the first time.
New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) and New Mexico State University (NMSU) announced on Tuesday that the Aedes aegypti species of mosquito, which can transmit the Zika virus, has been identified for the first time in southern Otero county and southwestern Hidalgo county.
The recent discoveries bring the total number of counties in New Mexico with mosquitos capable of spreading Zika to eight.
However, there have been no identified human cases of Zika virus in either county to date, officials said in a news release.
Ten cases of Zika virus were reported in New Mexico in 2016, all tied to travelers infected abroad and diagnosed after they returned home.
Zika virus is transmitted to humans primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.
Mosquito surveillance in New Mexico's southern counties is part of an ongoing collaboration between NMDOH and NMSU to map out the range and distribution of both Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus in the state.
Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other severe brain defects. It is also linked to other problems, such as miscarriage, stillbirth, and other birth defects. There have also been increased reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome, an uncommon sickness of the nervous system, in areas affected by Zika.