6 Mar 2016

Zika could be carried by NZ mosquito

2:55 pm on 6 March 2016

A New Zealand mosquito species could carry the zika virus according to preliminary Brazilian research.

Aedes aegypti mosquitos, which can carry the zika virus, are seen in containers at a lab in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Photo: AFP

Brazilian scientists have found one of the 15 species in this country can be infected with the virus in the laboratory.

More studies were being done to find out whether the mosquitoes could transmit zika in the wild.

Auckland University researcher José Derraik said even though the risk of mosquitoes transmitting viruses to humans in New Zealand was very low, it could not be disregarded.

"What could happen in the worst case scenario is mosquitoes could bite a person who had come back from overseas infected with the virus, and the mosquitoes could then transmit it to another person in New Zealand."

He said people at risk of contracting zika in other countries should use insect repellent to minimise the chances of local transmission.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs