Doctor & expert calm fears after mosquito capable of carrying Zi - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Doctor & expert calm fears after mosquito capable of carrying Zika is found in Dane County

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Since the Zika outbreak in the U.S. began in the summer of 2016, mothers-to-be in Wisconsin haven't had to worry. And doctors and experts say mothers still don't have to, even after a species of mosquito that's capable of carrying the virus was found in Dane County. 

Three Asian Tiger Mosquito eggs were found during a  UW-Madison entomology study in Monona. Scientists found them in a black cup filled with water that they put out to draw them in. The eggs were transported to a lab at UW-Madison where they eventually hatched. 

Susan Paskewitz holds many titles. She's a professor and director of entomology at UW-Madison and is the director of the Upper Midwest Center of Excellence in Vector Borne Diseases. 

She says the mother mosquito somehow got to Wisconsin from down south. 

"It's highly likely that somebody drove up to Wisconsin from some other place where these mosquitoes are established and they just happened to bring a hitchhiker along," she said. 

Since the discovery, Dr. Kathleen Antony, an Ob-Gyn for UW Health, said she's received several calls from expecting mothers who are worried. 

"It does catch our attention," she said. 

But Dr. Antony is quick to calm their fears. 

"It's important to distinguish that the mosquitoes that were identified did not have Zika virus itself," she added. 

But in the lab, Paskewitz is studying other eggs that were laid in Milwaukee, La Crosse and Rock County to see if the Asian Tiger species is popping up there, too. However, she agrees that this first find is nothing to be worried about. 

"It doesn't say anything about whether they're able to actually get established and by established I mean reproducing and then making it through a winter," she said. 

Paskewitz added that the Yellow Tiger species is more likely to pass along Zika, but said Wisconsin usually isn't hot enough to host the breed. 

However, the Asian Tiger species that was found for the first time in Wisconsin, is capable of spreading other serious viruses like Chikungunya, West Nile, and Dengue Fever, according to Paskewitz.

As always, to protect yourself from mosquito bites, health officials urge you to wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks and shoes. They also ask you to wear insect repellent to give yourself extra protection. 

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