Tuesday August 14, 2018

Dengue mosquitoes breed more on water near flowers

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New York: New research has found that the eggs of mosquitoes who are known to transfer diseases such as dengue, malaria, yellow fever and chikungunya are mostly found in water resources near flowers.

The researchers studied the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus).

“This study provides evidence of the attractiveness of flowering butterfly bushes to ovipositing (i.e., egg-laying) Aedes albopictus,” said one of the study authors Timothy Davis from the University of Florida in the US.

Asian tiger mosquitoes prefer to lay eggs in containers, so the first thing the scientists decided to test was whether the size of the containers made any difference.

They were also curious about whether or not the presence of flowers might affect the egg-laying behaviour, due to the fact that mosquitoes drink nectar from flowers.

The researchers studied female mosquitoes that had been fed bloodmeals and released in large cages with water containers flowering butterfly bushes.

They found significantly more eggs in the largest containers, and they found more eggs in containers next to flowering bushes than in containers without flowers.

These findings could lead to new methods of controlling the mosquito.

“One of the potential outcomes of this study might be that someone could look at the flower fragrances as a way to lure egg-laying female mosquitoes to some sort of trap,” Phil Kaufman from University of Florida pointed out.

The researchers suggest that female mosquitoes lay eggs near flowers for a variety of possible reasons.

Nectar is an important energy source, so pregnant females are obviously attracted to the flowers in order to feed themselves.

But it could also have something to do with providing food for the next generation in the form of nectar.

The study was published in the Journal of Medical Entomology.(IANS)

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Dengue Vaccine Should Not Be Used Widely: UN Health Agency

UN Health Agency issued an important statement regarding the dengue vaccine

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Dengue vaccine.
A Manila Health officer shows off a pair of vials of the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia after being recalled from local government health centers Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 in Manila, Philippines. The World Health Organization says the first-ever vaccine for dengue needs to be dealt with in "a much safer way," meaning that the shot should mostly be given to people who have previously been infected with the disease. VOA

The World Health Organization says the first-ever vaccine for dengue needs to be dealt with in “a much safer way,” meaning that the shot should mostly be given to people who have previously been infected with the disease.

In November, the vaccine’s manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, said people who had never been sickened by dengue before were at risk of developing a more serious disease after getting the shot.

After a two-day meeting this week, WHO’s independent vaccines group said it now had proof the vaccine should only be used “exclusively or almost exclusively in people who have already been infected with dengue.”

Also Read: Anti-dengue Antibody Drug May Neutralize Zika Virus

The U.N. health agency said a test should be developed so doctors would be able to quickly tell if people had previously been sickened by dengue – but the group acknowledged doing that so isn’t straightforward.

“We see significant obstacles in using the vaccine this way, but we are confident this also spurs the development of a rapid diagnostic test,” said Dr. Joachim Hombach, executive secretary of WHO’s expert group, during a news conference Thursday.

Representational image for dengue vaccination
Representational image. Wikimedia Commons

Sanofi said last year that doctors should consider whether people might have been previously infected with dengue before deciding whether they should risk getting immunized. The company said it expected to take a 100 million euro ($118 million) loss based on that news.

People who catch dengue more than once can be at risk of a hemorrhagic version of the disease. The mosquito-spread virus is found in tropical and sub-tropical climates across Latin and South America, Asia, Africa and elsewhere. It causes a flu-like disease that can cause joint pain, nausea, vomiting and a rash. In severe cases, dengue can result in breathing problems, hemorrhaging and organ failure.

About half the world’s population is at risk of dengue; WHO estimates that about 96 million people are sickened by the viral infection every year.

Also Read: Dengue fever may increase risk of stroke: Study

Following Sanofi’s announcement last year, the Philippines halted its dengue immunization program, the world’s first national vaccination program for dengue. The government also demanded a refund of more than 3 billion pesos ($59 million) from Sanofi and is considering further legal action.

In February, the Philippines said the vaccine was potentially linked to the deaths of three people: all of them died of dengue despite having received the vaccine.

The country imposed a symbolic fine of $2,000 on Sanofi and suspended the vaccine’s approval, charging that the drugmaker broke rules on how the shot was registered and marketed.

More than 730,000 children aged 9 and above in the Philippines have received at least one dose of the dengue vaccine, usually delivered in three doses.

There is no specific treatment for dengue and there are no other licensed vaccines on the market.  VOA