Education, Mosquito Management Programs, and Cooperation Needed to Stop Zika, Dengue, and Chikungunya

Prof. Frank Hadley Collins, Dir., Cntr. for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, Univ. of Notre Dame

This 2006 photograph depicted a female Aedes aegypti mosquito while she was in the process of acquiring a blood meal from her human host, who in this instance, was actually the biomedical photographer, James Gathany, here at the Centers for Disease Control.  The feeding apparatus consisting of a sharp, orange-colored “fascicle”, which while not feeding, is covered in a soft, pliant sheath called the "labellum”, which retracts as the sharp stylets contained within pierce the host's skin surface, as the insect obtains its blood meal. The orange color of the fascicle is due to the red color of the blood as it migrates up the thin, sharp translucent tube. Note the distended abdominal exoskeleton, which being translucent, allowed the color of the ingested blood meal to be visible.

DF and DHF are primarily diseases of tropical and sub-tropical areas, and the four different dengue serotypes (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4), are maintained in a cycle that involves humans and the Aedes mosquito. However, Aedes aegypti, a domestic, day-biting mosquito that prefers to feed on humans, is the most common Aedes species. Infections produce a spectrum of clinical illness ranging from a nonspecific viral syndrome to severe and fatal hemorrhagic disease. Important risk factors for DHF include the strain of the infecting virus, as well as the age, and especially the prior dengue infection history of the patient.

The Entomological Society of America (ESA) and Sociedade Entomológica do Brasil (SEB) held a Summit in Maceió, Alagoas, Brazil on 13 March, 2016 to discuss the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is the primary transmitter of Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever. While the Summit featured talks on many aspects of mosquito biology, behavior, and control, […]

46 Million-Year-Old Blood Meal Found in Fossilized Mosquito


In an article called “Hemoglobin-derived porphyrins preserved in a Middle Eocene blood-engorged mosquito” in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the authors describe “the fossil of a blood-engorged mosquito in oil shale from northwestern Montana.” “The existence of this rare specimen extends the existence of blood-feeding behavior in this family of insects 46 million […]

US Army Launches Website About Permethrin-Treated Uniforms


Throughout history, more soldiers have died from insects than from bullets or bombs, since insects like mosquitoes and lice can vector diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, or typhus. To combat this, the US Army has been treating uniforms with permethrin, which repels mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers and flies. There are no known health risks associated […]

A Genetically Modified Insect May be Field Tested in Europe


Oxitec, a British ag-biotech company, has applied to Spanish regulatory authorities for permission to carry out a netted field evaluation of its genetically-modified olive fly strain. If approved, the study would be the first outdoor trial of a GM insect in the EU. In Oxitec’s pest control approach, the company’s engineered males are released to […]

Fighting Insect Pests with the Deployed Warfighter Protection Research Program


The Research Program for Deployed Warfighter Protection (DWFP) against disease-carrying insects is an initiative by the United States Department of Defense to develop, validate and use novel materials and technologies to protect deployed military personnel from vector-borne diseases, especially those transmitted by mosquitoes and sand flies. An article in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management […]