This story has been banging around the net for a few hours, since the press alert went out early this morning. The actual study, however, didn't appear on the PLoS Currents Outbreaks website until a short while ago, so I've held off posting it until I could provide a direct link.
First the abstract, followed by a press release from the NCAR UCAR website. The full text of this detailed study may be viewed at the link below:
Introduction: An ongoing Zika virus pandemic in Latin America and the Caribbean has raised concerns that travel-related introduction of Zika virus could initiate local transmission in the United States (U.S.) by its primary vector, the mosquito Aedes aegypti.
Methods: We employed meteorologically driven models for 2006-2015 to simulate the potential seasonal abundance of adult Aedes aegypti for fifty cities within or near the margins of its known U.S. range. Mosquito abundance results were analyzed alongside travel and socioeconomic factors that are proxies of viral introduction and vulnerability to human-vector contact.
Results: Meteorological conditions are largely unsuitable for Aedes aegypti over the U.S. during winter months (December-March), except in southern Florida and south Texas where comparatively warm conditions can sustain low-to-moderate potential mosquito abundance. Meteorological conditions are suitable for Aedes aegypti across all fifty cities during peak summer months (July-September), though the mosquito has not been documented in all cities. Simulations indicate the highest mosquito abundance occurs in the Southeast and south Texas where locally acquired cases of Aedes-transmitted viruses have been reported previously. Cities in southern Florida and south Texas are at the nexus of high seasonal suitability for Aedes aegypti and strong potential for travel-related virus introduction. Higher poverty rates in cities along the U.S.-Mexico border may correlate with factors that increase human exposure to Aedes aegypti.
Discussion: Our results can inform baseline risk for local Zika virus transmission in the U.S. and the optimal timing of vector control activities, and underscore the need for enhanced surveillance for Aedes mosquitoes and Aedes-transmitted viruses.
Potential Zika virus risk estimated for 50 U.S. cities
March 16, 2016BOULDER – Key factors that can combine to produce a Zika virus outbreak are expected to be present in a number of U.S. cities during peak summer months, new research shows.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is spreading the virus in much of Latin America and the Caribbean, will likely be increasingly abundant across much of the southern and eastern United States as the weather warms, according to a new study led by mosquito and disease experts at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).
Summertime weather conditions are favorable for populations of the mosquito along the East Coast as far north as New York City and across the southern tier of the country as far west as Phoenix and Los Angeles, according to computer simulations conceived and run by researchers at NCAR and the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.
Spring and fall conditions can support low to moderate populations of the Aedes aegypti mosquito in more southern regions of its U.S. range. Wintertime weather is too cold for the species outside southern Florida and southern Texas, the study found.
By analyzing travel patterns from countries and territories with Zika outbreaks, the research team further concluded that cities in southern Florida and impoverished areas in southern Texas may be particularly vulnerable to local virus transmission.