A team of researchers from Simon Fraser University and Culex Environmental, a Burnaby-based mosquito control company, are studying an invasive, disease-carrying mosquito, Aedes japonicus, after finding it for the first time in Western Canada. Their research has been published in the Journal of Medical Entomology.
The researchers reared and identified mosquito larvae found as early as February this year in water in a tarpaulin in Maple Ridge, a suburb of Vancouver. The insect is native to Asia and has been found in Eastern Canada and the U.S. since 1998, and was reported in Southern Washington and Oregon in 2001.
SFU researchers are studying the insects' DNA to pinpoint their origin. SFU retired biology professor and paper author Peter Belton says the mosquitos could poise a significant hazard to health if global warming favours the development of some of the viruses it can transmit, which include La Crosse encephalitis, West Nile virus, chikungunya, Japanese encephalitis, and St. Louis encephalitis.
Peter Belton, Faculty of Science, [email protected]
Marianne Meadahl, University Communications, 778.782.9017; [email protected]
Simon Fraser University