- Associated Press - Thursday, August 4, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota health investigators are searching cities in the southern part of the state for one of two primary species known to carry the Zika virus.

The nearest established population of the Asian tiger mosquito is in southern Illinois, but small populations have been found in Minnesota before, MPR News (http://bit.ly/2b5N4DO ) reported.

Minnesota Department of Health investigators didn’t find any of the mosquitoes in Albert Lea last week. Agency staff will visit Winona, Rochester, Mankato, Worthington and possibly several other southern Minnesota cities over the next couple of weeks.

They’re concentrating their surveillance efforts on public areas, such as parks, and industrial areas, where the insects may have been brought in through commerce.

Epidemiologist Dave Neitzel said he’s not expecting to find the mosquitoes because the states winters should be harsh enough to kill them.

“Either the adult mosquitoes or their eggs, more importantly their eggs, seem to freeze out,” Neitzel said.

He said if the species is in Minnesota, it would be more likely for them to survive in the south, where there are warmer temperatures.

“But they’d be very, very unlikely to survive here,” he said. “They’re a tropical mosquito that would not like our conditions at all.”

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Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org

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