Rising Temperatures Could Heighten Virulence of Dengue Virus

A recent study conducted by researchers at the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) in Kerala has revealed that the Dengue virus (DENV) could become more virulent due to increasing temperatures. The study shows that when the virus is grown in mosquito-derived cells at higher temperatures, it becomes more severe and hostile in animal models. Dengue, a mosquito-transmitted disease, is prevalent in tropical regions and witnesses outbreaks during the monsoon season.

The research suggests that in seasons with higher environmental temperatures, there is a greater possibility of the emergence of a more virulent Dengue virus, leading to severe disease conditions. The study has significant implications for predicting and mitigating the severity of Dengue outbreaks, particularly in the context of global warming and its potential effects on infectious disease dynamics.

How does increasing temperature affect the virulence of the Dengue virus?

The study conducted by RGCB researchers indicates that the Dengue virus becomes more severe and virulent when exposed to higher temperatures. The virus’s growth in mosquito-derived cells at elevated temperatures leads to increased virulence when tested in animal models.

What are the implications of the study’s findings for Dengue outbreaks?

The research suggests that during seasons with higher environmental temperatures, there is a heightened risk of the emergence of a more virulent Dengue virus, which can result in more severe disease conditions. This aspect, which hasn’t been widely studied before, could have significant implications for predicting and managing Dengue outbreaks.

How does the study relate to global warming and infectious disease dynamics?

The study’s findings allude to the potential effects of global warming on infectious disease dynamics. The study underscores the importance of understanding how rising temperatures can impact the virulence and transmission of diseases like Dengue, emphasizing the need to consider climate change in disease prevention strategies.

Why is the Dengue virus a concern?

Dengue is a mosquito-transmitted viral infection caused by DENV. Its global incidence has been rising, leading to increased disease severity and fatality. The disease can range from mild and self-limiting to severe, causing conditions like thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) and shock syndrome.

What were the outcomes of the study’s experimentation with the virus?

In a mouse model, the study found that the virulent strain of Dengue virus obtained from higher temperature growth caused enhanced viral presence in the blood, hemorrhage, severe tissue changes in vital organs (heart, liver, kidney), and even death—indicating the severity of the disease under such conditions.

How might this research impact future disease prevention efforts?

The study’s insights into how rising temperatures could amplify the virulence of the Dengue virus offer valuable information for predicting and mitigating disease outbreaks. It emphasizes the importance of considering climate-related factors when developing strategies to manage and prevent infectious diseases like Dengue.



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