Tuesday April 23, 2019

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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1bn People Could be Exposed to Dengue, Zika by 2080

Dengue is the fastest growing mosquito-borne disease across the world today, causing nearly 400 million infections every year, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO)

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Aedes
Dengue is transmitted by the bite of the Aedes mosquito that typically attacks during day time. Pixabay

Global warming could expose as many as a billion people to mosquito-borne diseases including dengue and Zika by 2080, says a new study that examined temperature changes on a monthly basis worldwide.

The study found that with the rise in temperature, dengue is expected to have a year-round transmission in the tropics and seasonal risks almost everywhere else. A greater intensity of infections is also predicted.

To understand, researchers from Georgetown University in the US looked at temperatures month by month to project the risks through 2050 and 2080.

While almost all of the world’s population could be exposed at some point in the next 50 years, places like Europe, North America, and high elevations in the tropics that used to be too cold for the viruses will face new diseases like dengue.

On the other hand, in areas with the worst climate increase, including west Africa and southeast Asia, serious reductions are expected for the Aedes albopictus mosquito, most noticeably in southeast Asia and west Africa, revealed the study, published in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

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

Both Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes can carry dengue, chikunguyna and Zika viruses, as well as at least a dozen other emerging diseases.

“Climate change is the largest and most comprehensive threat to global health security,” said Colin J. Carlson, postdoctoral candidate in Georgetown University in the US.

“The risk of disease transmission is a serious problem, even over the next few decades,” Carlson added.

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Dengue is the fastest growing mosquito-borne disease across the world today, causing nearly 400 million infections every year, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The 2018 data from the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) and National Health Profile showed that cases of dengue increased 300 per cent — from less than 60,000 cases in 2009, it increased to 188,401 in 2017. (IANS)