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Zika mosquito may transmit dengue, chikungunya with one bite: Study

The researchers found that mosquitoes in the lab can transmit all three viruses simultaneously

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Zika mosquito may transmit dengue, chikungunya with one bite: Study

Aedes aegypti, the primary that carries Zika virus, may also transmit and viruses with one bite, a new study has found.

The findings shed new light on what is known as a co-infection, which scientists say is not yet fully understood and may be fairly common in areas experiencing outbreaks.


"A mosquito, in theory, could give you multiple viruses at once," said Claudia Ruckert, post-doctoral researcher at Colorado State University (CSU) in the US.

The team infected mosquitoes in the lab with multiple kinds of viruses to learn more about the transmission of more than one infection from a single bite.

The researchers found that mosquitoes in the lab can transmit all three viruses simultaneously, although this is likely to be extremely rare in nature.

While they described the lab as surprising, researchers said there is no reason to believe that these co- infections are more severe than being infected with one virus at a time.

"Dual infections in humans, however, are fairly common, or more common than we would have thought," Ruckert said.

The researchers had expected to find that one virus would prove to be dominant and outcompete the others in the midgut of the where the infections establish and replicate before being transmitted to humans.

"It is interesting that all three replicate in a really small area in the mosquito's body," Ruckert said.

"When these mosquitoes get infected with two or three different viruses, there is almost no effect that the viruses have on each other in the same mosquito," she said.

The first report of and virus co-infection occurred in 1967, researchers said.

More recently, co-infections of Zika and viruses, Zika and chikungunya, and all three viruses have been reported during various outbreaks, including the recent outbreak of in North and South America.

The research was published in the journal Nature Communications.

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