Global Health Press
New ‘super-infected’ mosquitoes may help fight dengue, Zika

New ‘super-infected’ mosquitoes may help fight dengue, Zika

Aedes_aegyptiArboviruses such as Zika are those harboured by biting bugs like mosquitoes and ticks, which are known as “vectors” – the agents that carry and transmit an infectious pathogen into another living organism.

The disease is common in parts of equatorial Africa and Southeast Asia.

“It’s not something to create a scare about, but it’s very important that we do have local testing areas”, said County Legislator Rose Walker.

Researchers created a strain of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in the lab that has been infected with two types of Wolbachia – a bacterium that can reduce the risk of dengue spreading to humans.

The solution could potentially be used to limit not just Zika but malaria, dengue, yellow fever and other mosquito-borne infections such as chikungunya. Others have mused that Zika virus has simply mutated over the past couple of years, causing it to behave differently than it has in the past.

The phenomenon is called antibody-dependent enhancement.

On dengue cases, he said there was a drop nationwide in the last three weeks and the ministry’s monitoring for Feb 7 to 13 period found there were 2,590 cases compared to 3,312 cases the previous week.

He outlined how this still-hypothetical scenario might work: Women with antibodies to dengue viruses might develop higher levels of virus in the blood if they contract Zika virus.

“There was Zika infection detected in the country from the 393 samples tested until Feb 14”, he said.

“Let me go on record as saying I do not anticipate that we will see it, but we will monitor for it, and we will test for it”, said Theodore G. Andreadis, director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.

It is associated with neurological disorders microcephaly in babies and Guillain-Barre syndrome, which can cause paralysis.

Zika is a disease caused by Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.

What is the history of the Zika virus? It would mean the risk posed by Zika might be lower than now expected.

Men who reside in or have traveled to an area with active Zika virus infection who have a pregnant partner should abstain from sexual intercourse or consistently and correctly use condoms for the duration of the pregnancy.

With the rapid spread of Zika virus in the Americas, researchers including members of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) network have been working on developing better diagnostic tools and on improving monitoring of the virus’ spread, in preparation for a possible outbreak in Europe and its return to the African continent where it was first isolated in the Zika Forest in Uganda in 1947.

Source: My TechBits