ECU researchers working to learn more about the viruses mosquitos carry

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Mosquitos are known to carry a variety of viruses that can cause serious health concerns. Now, researchers at East Carolina University are working towards figuring out what repellents and measures can be taken to keep these mosquitoes out of the region.

Doctor Stephanie Richards is a professor at ECU. She has been leading up research over the past few summers to look into the different types of transmission here in Eastern North Carolina.

“We in North Carolina do have imported Zika cases, that’s when people travel somewhere where Zika is being transmitted,” said Richards. “In North Carolina, we have West Nile virus that’s locally transmitted. We also have the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus that’s locally transmitted. Especially in the Eastern part of the state.”

West Nile Virus happens when infected bird populations transmit the virus to mosquitos. This then moves to humans and makes it more of a threat here in the eastern part of the state.

Richards says there are ways however, to keep yourself safe from these bugs.

“You will not have any mosquitos if there is no standing water so standing water areas must be eliminated,” Richards said.

She notes that by wearing repellents, you can keep yourself protected. However, through their studies, she also notes that some of the insecticides used by major corporations may not be totally effective for the mosquitos found in our area.

“They are generally highly resistant to most of the active ingredients that we are testing so that mosquito is having an issue,” Richards said.

Noting that it all comes down to research and support.

“I’d also say people who are lucky enough to have a mosquito control program in their county or the local area, definitely keep in communication with the vector control manager,” said Richards.

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