What stops mosquitoes from spreading viruses?
A new study has found that the type of mosquito that transmits viruses such as Zika and dengue fever can be reduced by eating sugar from flowers before blood.
The study, led by the University of Glasgow Center for Virology Research, showed that the Asian tiger mosquito or yellow fever mosquito, boosted immunity in its guts after it fed on sugar, and this protects the females of the species from infection.
Adult mosquitoes feed on plant nectar to build their energy, but they need blood to reproduce.
As a result, they transmit viruses, including the chikungunya virus, which is a common problem for the entire world.
It is not clear why sugar protects mosquitoes from infection, but the researchers believe it may be partly responsible for the “high sensitivity and transmission of arthropod viruses by this species of mosquito”.
Dr Emily Bondville, a molecular entomologist at MRC University, one of the study’s co-authors, said the findings highlight the importance of feeding mosquitoes sugar to lower infection rates worldwide. Overall, the results reveal the critical role of sugar feeding in mosquitoes’ antiviral immunity, which in turn reduces the potential for arboviruses to spread, which are a major threat to people.
In the future, this could aid the development and implementation of vector control strategies such as sugar bait, aimed at reducing arbovirus transmission.
The study was recently published in the scientific journal PLOS Pathogens.
What is the disease of the knees?
Dengue fever is a viral infection transmitted by the bite of a mosquito. It is most common in tropical and subtropical regions, and is particularly fast in poor urban, suburban and rural areas. Other names for the disease: Dengue – Dengue fever – disease of the knees – Bone-breaking fever.
Are mosquitoes affected by dengue?