"So the bottom line is that if chikungunya does show up, this mosquito could be the vector for it," Hamer said. "And that means it's important that we have protective virus surveillance up and running throughout the country, which we already do. So that once things show up we can react quickly."
But as experts watch and wait, what can people do to protect themselves?
According to Ruiz-Moreno: "The best strategy is to reduce exposure to potentially infective mosquitoes, either by avoiding contact or reducing mosquito population in the wild. At home, we recommend removing all sources of standing water. And when going outside we need to wear insect repellent and cover up with long sleeves and pants to avoid mosquito bites."
For more on the Asian tiger mosquito, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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