Researchers at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and QUT have found that the dengue fever mosquito common to parts of Queensland poses the greatest danger of spreading the Zika virus in Australia.
The researchers showed that not only was the dengue mosquito effective at transmitting Zika, but also that the virus was in the mosquitoes’ reproductive organs.
This finding suggests that Zika could persist in mosquito populations by females passing it to their offspring.
The study findings have been published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
Study senior author Dr Francesca Frentiu, from QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, said the researchers looked at whether two mosquito species found in Queensland could transmit Zika: the dengue mosquito (Aedes aegypti) and Asian Tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus).
The dengue mosquito is found in northern, central and southern parts of the state, while the Asian Tiger mosquito is currently only present in the Torres Strait.
The researchers tested a strain of Zika that caused microcephaly during the 2016 epidemic in Brazil.
Co-lead researcher Dr Leon Hugo, from QIMR Berghofer’s Mosquito Control Laboratory, said the mosquitoes used in the study were hatched from eggs collected from colonies in Innisfail and Hammond Island in the Torres Strait, and reared at the institute’s state-of-the-art mosquito and pathogen containment insectary in Brisbane.
“Our high biosecurity insectary is unique in the southern hemisphere for its size, capacity and expertise, allowing us to work safely with dangerous pathogens like Zika,” Dr Hugo said.
“We fed the two strains of mosquitoes with a mixture of Zika virus and blood.”
Dr Frentiu said the mosquitoes were maintained in the insectary at temperatures similar to what is experienced in north Queensland around Cairns to simulate a field experiment.
“At three, seven and 14 days after the mosquitoes were infected with Zika, we tested their saliva to see if they could pass on the virus through a bite,” she said.
“We concluded that the dengue mosquito is the main danger for spreading Zika.
Read more at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
- Measles cases in the US rise, FDA statement on MMR vaccine
- Dengue cases top 500K in the Americas
- Mayotte Rift Valley Fever: 12 new animal foci and 5 new human cases
- Ontario: York Region lists possible measles exposure sites
- Measles exposure advisory for LAX
- Sri Lanka dengue cases near 14k year-to-date, Expert warns of DEN-3
- Reunion reports more than 1,000 dengue cases in a week