(WXYZ) — The invasive Asian tiger mosquito has been identified in Wayne County, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Wayne County Health Department announced today.
First discovered in 2017, the Asian tiger mosquito was found in an industrial area in Taylor. Previously, it had been found in an industrial area in Livonia and Romulus.
The mosquito, along with the yellow fever mosquito, can transmit viruses such as dengue, chikungunya and Zika to people. These mosquitoes are widespread from tropical to temperate regions of the globe, including many parts of the U.S.
Normally, they don't occur in Michigan because the winters are too harsh, but warming climates are supporting the spread.
“Although we have not had any illnesses associated with these species of mosquitoes in Michigan, it is important to take precautions since other mosquitoes can spread viruses such as West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis to people,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health. “We urge Michiganders to take precautions such as using an EPA-registered insect repellent when outdoors.”
The Asian tiger mosquito can live in areas with climates that range from tropical to temperate, and it has been extending its known range in the U.S. They are considered established in many midwestern states including Ohio, Illinois and Indiana.
The state said the mosquitoes will occasionally travel in commercial products shipped from other states, and that's likely how it showed up in Wayne County.
Michigan residents can protect themselves from mosquito bites by:
- Eliminating sources of standing water such as wading pools, old tires, buckets and containers by dumping water to prevent mosquito eggs from hatching or larvae from developing into biting adults.
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when outdoors.
- Applying an EPA-registered insect repellent according to label instructions.
- Making sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens.