In response to the recent outbreak of the Zika virus in the Americas, Oxford University Press has curated a collection of free articles on the virus and its carrier, the yellowfever mosquito (Aedes aegypti), which is also the primary vector of yellow fever, dengue, and chikungunya. These articles are freely available to assist researchers, medical professionals, policymakers, and others working on management of Aedes aegypti and the Zika virus.
The collection of articles coincides with a meeting next month in Brazil called The Summit on the Aedes aegypti Crisis in the Americas.
Aedes aegypti is one of the world’s most deadly animals. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are an estimated 200,000 cases of yellow fever each year, causing 30,000 deaths, with 90% occurring in Africa. The WHO also estimates that about 390 million cases of dengue occur globally each year. Symptoms include high fever, severe headache, severe eye pain, joint pain, nose bleeds, rash, and low white blood cell counts. Severe cases may lead to dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), which can be fatal.
Zika virus was first described in 1947 in Uganda, but has since spread to other parts of the world, with outbreaks occurring in the Western Hemisphere for the first time in 2014. The virus appears to be linked to microcephaly in babies born to infected mothers. Likewise, chikungunya originated in Africa but has spread to the Western Hemisphere, where outbreaks began occurring in 2013.
These mosquitoes lay their eggs in small containers that hold water — tree holes, cups, bowls, discarded tires, flower pots, tin cans, clogged rain gutters, etc. — which puts them in close contact with humans and makes them difficult to control. They will bite during the day, and they prefer to feed on humans more than other mammals.
The collection includes articles about the biology and behavior of Aedes aegypti, as well as papers that describe research on novel ways to control them.