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Zika or dengue infections make mosquitoes more attractive

Infection with Zika virus or dengue virus affects the microbial flora of the skin and increases the production of mosquito-attracting compounds.However, treatment with common acne medications may cancel this effect.


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June 30, 2022

Researchers are investigating ways to reduce the spread of mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika virus and dengue virus.

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Humans and mice infected with the Zika virus or dengue virus secrete mosquito-appetizing chemicals. That is, they are more likely to be bitten again and further infect these viruses. By identifying chemical attractants, researchers were able to reduce the attractive scent of common acne medications.

In the tropical and subtropical regions of the world Dengue fever Infect around 400 million people About 40,000 people die each year. The Zika virusOutbreaks in 2015 and 2016 infect hundreds of people each year, and infections during pregnancy Serious newborn health problems.. Both are spread by mosquitoes, which infect the virus through saliva when they eat the host’s blood.

Gongchen Tsinghua University in China and his colleagues have mosquito-borne pathogens Malaria can hijack our scent It makes us more appetizing and leads us to wonder if Zika and dengue can manipulate the host in a similar way.

In their experiments, researchers offered mosquitoes two dietary options: uninfected mice or mice infected with dengue or Zika virus. They found that about twice as many mosquitoes chose to eat infected mice as compared to uninfected mice.

Researchers also analyzed molecular compounds found in infected and uninfected mice and people’s skin to identify some of the most common hosts with Zika and dengue positivity.

We then wiped those odorous compounds onto the backs of mice and human hands to see which scents were most attractive to mosquitoes. The most attractive odor was acetophenone. It was abundant in both humans and mice infected with either virus.

Mosquitoes rely heavily on scents to find food and pick up subtle chemical signals that we can’t. James Logan At the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who was not involved in the study. He states that humans cover us with a complex mixture of more than 20 odors, including many odors that are more or less appetizing to hungry insects.

There were previous clues that diseases like malaria and covid-19 could affect the host’s microbial flora and bacteria in and on the skin could produce different amounts of selected compounds. .. Therefore, researchers weren’t necessarily surprised that this was the case for Zika and dengue, but Chen said he was pleased to be able to identify a molecule that attracts a single mosquito.

Acetophenone, also found in some fruits and cheeses, is routinely produced by bacteria in the skin of humans and mice, but is usually suppressed by the natural antibacterial peptides in the skin. Infected hosts appear to produce less of these peptides. By turning infected mice and humans into a more attractive diet, the virus can easily be transferred to new hosts.

Once they identified the compound, researchers wanted to see if its formation could be suppressed.Using clues from previous studies, they decided to give mice a common acne drug called Isotretinoin, Is known to increase the production of antibacterial peptides. When they exposed drug-treated mice to mosquitoes, the insects no longer showed preference for infected individuals.

Next, researchers plan to take a closer look at the skin odors of people infected with the Zika and dengue viruses. They also hope that isotretinoin treatment can also prevent mosquitoes from eating humans.

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Zika or dengue infections make mosquitoes more attractive

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