The Aedes aegypti mosquito species is responsible for epidemics that have carried on for hundreds of years, infecting millions of victims. This vector spreads yellow fever, dengue fever, chikungunya, and Zika, which has been reported in over 50 countries.
Peter Hoetz, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine describes this mosquito species as “one of the most efficient killers in the world.” Factors such as increasing travel, global commerce, and global warming have only facilitated the spread of this mosquito and the diseases they carry.
The ability of A. aegypti to adapt makes it a very efficient disease transmitter. It has evolved to flourish in place with a high density of people, especially in very urban environments. Its larvae are not dependent on water for survival and eggs can reside dormant for over a year.
Jeffrey R. Powell, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Yale University advocates for stronger mosquito-control strategies because “rather than treating each disease after there’s an outbreak, why not spend more money trying to control the mosquito?”
- Linda Shin