New Mexico mosquitoes capable of transmitting the Zika virus

FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2016 file photo, Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, responsible for transmitting Zika, sit in a petri dish at the Fiocruz Institute in Recife, Brazil. The South American country declared an end to its public health emergency for the Zika virus on Thursday, May 11, 2017, 18 months after a surge in cases drew headlines around the world. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – State health officials say mosquitoes capable of transmitting the Zika virus have been found in Dona Ana County.

The New Mexico Department of Health says it’s the first time this season that the mosquito species has been found in that part of the state.

Mosquito surveillance in New Mexico’s southern counties is part of an ongoing joint project to map the range and distribution of the species that can transmit the Zika virus.

Zika virus can be transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito.

The mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus.

Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites.

Ten cases of Zika virus disease were reported in New Mexico last year.

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