Dengue Fever Could Be Controlled Via Mosquito Parasite Featured Article Main Category: Tropical Diseases Also Included

In: Biology / Biochemistry; Blood / Hematology; Infectious Diseases / Bacteria / Viruses Article Date: 02 Jan 2009 - 8:00 PDT email to a friend opinions printer friendly view / write

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. an attractive alternative way of preventing disease spread.With laboratory-bred mosquitoes. In their background information the authors explained how most pathogens transmitted by mosquito need to spend a long time in the insect before they can be passed onto the human host. and is published on 2 January 2009 in the journal Science. In effect this is what the researchers were able to do. scientists in Australia and China showed it may be possible to reduce the spread of dengue fever by using a parasite to shorten the life-span of the mosquito that carries the virus. for instance with a parasite. making the prospect of shortening mosquito lifespan. and the College of Life Sciences at Central China Normal University in Wuhan. Efforts to use pesticides to wipe out the mosquito that carries the dengue fever virus have not been very successful. Thus only older mosquito "vectors" pose a threat to humans. The study is the work of researchers from the School of Integrative Biology at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. mostly because the insects develop immunity to the chemicals. so scientists have been looking for a new approach that circumvents this problem.

giving two powerful means by which a mosquito population can very quickly become infected with the parasite. which should facilitate its invasion into natural field populations and its persistence over time. but infected males could only produce offspring with infected females. They found that the association between the parasite and the host mosquito was "stable" and passed onto the next generation ("maternally inherited") at a high frequency." "Our data suggest that targeting mosquito age with inherited Wolbachia infections may be a viable strategy to reduce the transmission of pathogens such as dengue viruses. They had to modify the parasite to make in infectious to Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.under laboratory conditions: they halved the lifespan of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (the type that carry the dengue virus) by infecting them with a bacterial parasite called Wolbachia. because they are not normally vulnerable to that particular bacterium. . Not only did infected females pass on the bacterium." they concluded. The researchers also found that the parasite is: "Capable of inducing complete cytoplasmic incompatibility.

said that while this study suggests there could be "substantial" reductions in disease transmission. it remains to be seen how well the parasite spreads in the wild. and how many infectious mosquitoes it can remove. For example. many obstacles still remain. . Drs Andrew Read and Matthew Thomas. they said.Commenting in the same issue of the journal. the dengue virus could also adapt to survive. who specialize in infectious disease dynamics at Pennsylvania State University in the US. Also.

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