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Which Northern States Need To Worry About Zika? New York Isn't The Only One


The Zika epidemic infecting women around the world is now sweeping the United States. As of Friday, 182 people in New York City have been diagnosed with Zika, including 20 pregnant women, making it the state with the highest number of infections in the country. All in all, 756 people in the United States have been diagnosed. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which has spread Zika throughout Central and South America, is known to reside in warm climates. After New York, Florida, California and Texas lead the country in Zika infections. But which northern states need to worry about Zika?

It is important to note that none of the cases reported in the United States were locally-acquired. All U.S. Zika patients became ill as a result of travel, working in a lab with Zika, or having sexual intercourse with someone who had traveled to other countries where Zika is prevalent.

Still, many states house the mosquito are known to carry the virus. A travel-transmitted outbreak can become a localized outbreak if an Aedes aegypti mosquito bites an infected person during their first week of infection, multiplies and bites someone else.

RECIFE, BRAZIL - JUNE 02: Dr. Stella Guerra performs physical therapy on an infant born with microcephaly at Altino Ventura Foundation on June 2, 2016 in Recife, Brazil. Microcephaly is a birth defect linked to the Zika virus where infants are born with abnormally small heads. The Brazilian city of Recife and surrounding Pernambuco state remain the epicenter of the Zika virus outbreak, which has now spread to many countries in the Americas. A group of health experts recently called for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games to be postponed or cancelled due to the Zika threat but the WHO (World Health Organization) rejected the proposal. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)Mario Tama/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The Aedes Aegypti mosquito has been spotted as far north as New Hampshire, according to the CDC, but it is more commonly found in the Greater Washington D.C. area, Maryland, Ohio, and Kansas, according to a map the Center released earlier this month.

That doesn't mean other northern states are off the hook. An unseasonably warm summer is expected to increase the range of the mosquito. While it has not been frequently spotted in New England, the mosquito can survive as far north as Connecticut, New Jersey and Delaware.

Making matters worse, the more climate-resistant Asian Tiger mosquito, which is capable of carrying Zika, can survive throughout New England, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa and Illinois.

Miami-Dade mosquito control worker Carlos Vargas sprays to eradicate the Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae at a home in Miami, Florida, on June 08, 2016. Of the forty different types of mosquito found in Miami -Dade the Aedes aegypti mosquito or yellow fever mosquito is responsible for transmitting diseases such as the Zika Virus. / AFP / RHONA WISE / TO GO WITH AFP STORY by Leila MACOR, 'Florida health warriors deploy in war on Zika' (Photo credit should read RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images

"I’ve had people from literally all over the country calling," Daniel Markowski, a scientist with Vector Disease Control International, told The New York Times this week. "'What should we do?' ... [But] we shouldn’t live our summer in fear and hide inside, we should approach it with the appropriate level of respect that any mosquito-borne disease deserves."

So what can the average person actually do? Turns out, the precautions are simple enough.

The CDC recommends that people living in areas of infection delay pregnancy and avoid mosquito bite by using repellent, and stay in areas with air conditioning. Outside of those basics, all that's left to do is to sit back and enjoy the warmer weather... and perhaps hope for more funding so that researchers might find a reliable vaccine soon.