The Zika virus is particularly dangerous for pregnant women and can cause neurological disorders in the unborn child. However, for everyone else, the disease only reflects some minor symptoms and can be treated easily.
A new research indicates that a bite from the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads Zika, could simultaneously infect people with other diseases such as dengue and chikungunya.
Zika Mosquitoes Transmitting Dengue And Chikungunya?
Scientists at the Colorado State University conducted the research regarding the viruses the Aedes aegypti mosquito carries. For the study, researchers infected the mosquitoes in the lab with different viruses and analyzed the virus’ transmission.
They discovered that a mosquito carrying the Zika virus could also be infected with both chikungunya and dengue, which it could spread to any individual with one bite. The multiple infections from a single bite is what researchers call coinfection.
Coinfection is common in areas where mosquito-borne diseases are prevalent and this new study may throw some light into what causes multiple infections simultaneously.
However, the researchers assert that a person becoming infected with three diseases from one bite is quite rare, but becoming infected with two diseases is quite common.
“Dual infections in humans, however, are fairly common, or more common than we would have thought,” the study’s author Claudia Ruckert shared.
Researchers were also surprised to see that in a mosquito infected with all three viruses, each infection seemed to be working independently of the other two. The researchers had theorized that the viruses either compete with each other or enhance each other’s capabilities. However, none of the viruses in the mosquitoes’ bodies showed any of these traits.
Aedes Aegypti Mosquito Causes Coinfection?
The research proved that the Aedes aegypti mosquito may cause coinfection in people it bites. However, researchers asserted that further studies needs to be conducted to determine whether coinfection causes diseases and infections, which may be clinically more severe. Previous studies on the subject have produced inconclusive results.
Researchers shared that it is highly likely that doctors are unable to diagnose coinfection and may write off the symptoms as a result of one single disease.
Ruckert and her team will continue to study how the virus functions in a coinfected mosquito vis-à-vis one infected with a single virus.
“We will study how these virus-mosquito interactions change when there are two viruses, what gets transmitted from a coinfected mosquito, and how that differs from a mosquito infected with one virus,” Ruckert noted.
Researchers will also attempt to determine whether yellow fever, another virus carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, can co-exist with dengue, chikungunya, and Zika inside a single host.
The study’s results were published in the journal Nature Communications on Friday, May 19.