According to new research presented, Nov. 14, at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), mosquitoes who carry Zika could also carry the chikungunya virus. As the insects can secrete enough saliva, they can also potentially infest people with both viruses at once.
The study was carried out at Colorado State University, being one of the many recent studies following the Zika virus' spread. One of the other studies presented at the medical gathering states that there is a chance for three mosquito-borne viruses to be spread in America and some Asiatic regions at the same time, the third virus being dengue.
Raising Preoccupation - Zika's Interaction With Other Viruses
Another research conducted in the north-eastern part of Brazil shows that a mixture of neurological issues could follow the outbreak of these three diseases, as it happened in 2015. Among the scientists' investigation, the priority is identifying the reaction of the dengue virus after the Zika infestation. According to the scientists, the first disease could either intensify or be neutralized in contact with the new infection.
While the way Zika interacts with dengue is a priority, scientists are also preoccupied about the virus' behavior when the patients also contact chikungunya. While Zika and dengue are related to one another because they are produced as part of the same virus family, the effects of chikungunya's interaction with Zika in humans or mosquitoes wasn't subjected to research until now.
New Directions Of Study
Currently, scientists from Colorado State University are undergoing a series of tests in order to examine the behavior of the Aedes mosquitoes when it comes to the viruses' transmission, given that a mosquito carrying more than one of these three viruses at a time is an increasing possibility.
Thus, the scientists have conducted an experiment permitting the insects to feed on blood that had previously been infected with one of the three viruses or combinations of them. The preliminary results of these lab experiments suggest that more than one of the three viruses can be transmitted at a time.
While this concern existed before among the medical personnel whose scientific efforts have been focused on stopping the spread, this possibility was never lab-proven. Consequently, a study was conducted in Nicaragua, proving that no less than one in five patients who were found Zika positive were also infected with one of the other two viruses.
However, Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, who were infested with chikungunya and Zika, manifested an inhibition of the latter, which could help further research on the topic.