Indian mosquitoes can transmit Zika virus infection: NIV study

Apr 17, 2018 12:35 IST
Indian mosquitoes can transmit Zika virus infection

A team of scientists has recently discovered that Indian mosquito, when contaminated with the Zika Virus (ZIKV), can transmit the infection to suckling mice.

The study was carried out by a team of scientists from Pune’s National Institute of Virology (NIV), the National Jalma Institute of leprosy and other Mycobacterial Diseases, and a host of other research institutes.

The findings of the study were published on March 29, 2018 in the journal Intervirology.

The Study

• The study demonstrated that how the Indian Aedes Aegypti mosquito, known for infecting people with dengue and chikungunya, is vulnerable to the Zika virus.

• As part of the study, mosquitoes were experimentally infected with Zika virus (African Strain MR-766) through the oral-feeding route.

• The scientists used infant and suckling mice bitten by ZIKV-infected mosquitoes to check how much time it took for the virus to cross the stomach wall and reach the saliva.

• Few days after being bitten by the ZIKV contaminated mosquitoes, infant mice showed symptoms such as trembling, isolated behavior; and signs related to the nervous system and lethargic movements.

• The mice became stagnant during critical stages of the illness and were put to death.

• Later, their organs were removed and examined, which confirmed high amount of the African strain of the Zika virus.

• The study also revealed that Indian mosquitoes pick up ZIKV naturally.

• The scientists believe that the mosquitoes harbor the virus in their salivary glands which makes it easier to transmit.


Zika Virus

Zika virus (ZIKV) is a member of the virus family Flaviviridae and the genus Flavivirus. It is transmitted by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes, such as A. aegypti.

In 2013, the first Zika virus outbreak was reported in the Marquesas Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. It subsequently spread to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America in 2015.

In February 2016, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Public Health Emergency of International Concern over the explosive spread of Zika virus, which led to the birth defects in the Americas.

While in India, health agencies closely monitored the situation and identified three cases in Gujarat and one in Chennai.

However, there is currently no cure or vaccine for treating the Zika Virus.


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