Indian mosquitoes susceptible to Zika virus: NIV study
Recent National Institute of Virology (NIV) study has found that Indian Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits dengue and chikungunya viruses is easily susceptible to zika virus. During the study it was found that Indian Aedes aegypti mosquito infected with African strain MR-766 of zika virus (ZIKV) can easily transmit infection.
This study shows that Indian mosquitoes pick up ZIKV in natural way. They were experimentally infected with zika virus through oral-feeding route, which is natural mode by which mosquitoes get virus. These infected mosquitoes, harbour the virus in their salivary glands were allowed to bite on infant and suckling mice.
The organs of sick mice were subjected to three detection tests histopathology, real-time RT-PCR, and Immunohistochemistry [IHC] to check for presence of virus. The results of tests showed clinical symptoms of ZIKV such as trembling, solitary behaviour, nervous signs, no movement, and lethargy in mice after 4-5 days after being bitten by the infected mosquitoes.
Zika virus is emerging threat unless contained especially in areas where vector Aedes aegypti mosquito is in large numbers, including India. So there is need to explore possibilities for containing virus. This study will help to explore suitable model for understanding Zika virus’s natural transmission and disease progression.
Zika virus is vector borne disease transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the same mosquito that transmits dengue. It can also spread through blood transfusion and sexual contact. It is capable of causing serious birth defects i.e. neurological disorders and foetal deformation known as Microcephaly in which infants are born with abnormally smaller heads. Besides a possible link between virus and Guillain-Barré syndrome (a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the nervous system) is also suspected. There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available to treat Zika. The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites and clearing stagnant water where mosquitoes breed.
In 2013, the first zika virus outbreak was reported in the Marquesas Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. It subsequently spread to Brazil in May 2015. In India, three cases were identified in Gujarat and one Tamil Nadu, suggesting that the virus is not new in the country.