Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mosquito study shows new, faster way West Nile can spread

07.06.2005


Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) have discovered a quick new way that mosquitoes can pass West Nile virus to each other. The new study challenges fundamental assumptions about the virus’ transmission cycle and may help explain why it spread so rapidly across North America despite experts’ predictions that it would progress more slowly or even die out. In the conventional understanding of West Nile transmission, mosquitoes acquire the virus when they bite birds with high levels of virus (or "high viremia.") in their blood. Those levels are reached several days after the birds are initially infected by other mosquitoes. But experiments at UTMB show that when infected and uninfected mosquitoes feed simultaneously on previously uninfected laboratory mice, the virus can pass from mosquito to mosquito within an hour.



"We were amazed to see that it could happen," said UTMB associate professor Stephen Higgs, lead author of a paper on the discovery that will be published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of June 6. "It is basically a brand-new component of the virus’ life cycle."

In the paper, Higgs and his co-authors--UTMB graduate student Bradley S. Schneider, senior research associate Dana Vanlandingham, research assistant Kimberly A. Klingler and Ernest A. Gould of the United Kingdom’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology--note that although such "non-viremic transmission" (that is, transmission before virus can be detected in the blood) has been observed in cases involving viruses transmitted by ticks, it has never before been documented in a virus carried by mosquitoes.


To determine whether West Nile virus could be transmitted non-viremically, the researchers placed an anesthetized, uninfected lab mouse on a mesh-topped container holding infected "donor" mosquitoes, which fed on the mouse through the mesh. Five minutes later, they moved a second mesh-topped container in position so that its uninfected "recipient" mosquitoes could feed on the same mouse, allowing the simultaneous feeding by infected and uninfected mosquitoes to continue for an hour. In repeated experiments, tests revealed that between 2 and 6 percent of the recipient mosquitoes acquired the virus. In one trial, a single bite from a donor mosquito was sufficient to infect two out of 87 recipient mosquitoes.

The discovery calls into question the current conception of mosquito transmission of West Nile virus and possibly other viruses such as the one that causes dengue fever. According to that theory, many vertebrates were considered to be "dead-end hosts" that did not pass along the virus. Only birds, which develop much higher levels of the West Nile virus in their blood, were thought capable of passing it on to uninfected mosquitoes.

"None of the models that have attempted to predict the spread of West Nile virus take into account the possibility that mammals such as horses may be involved in the proliferation of this virus. Direct transfer of virus from the infected mosquitoes that initially feed on them to others that feed on them afterwards, could significantly accelerate the spread of the disease," Higgs said. "Instead of only birds infecting mosquitoes, all sorts of animals may be involved, and transmission could be happening much faster because you don’t have to wait for a high viremia."

Jim Kelly | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utmb.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht More genes are active in high-performance maize
19.01.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht How plants see light
19.01.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>