Virus-carrying mosquitoes spreading to new regions

Virus-carrying mosquitoes spreading farther
Virus-carrying mosquitoes spreading farther | Courtesy of
Researchers recently warned that the mosquito species carrying chikungunya and dengue fever has spreading to new regions, taking the diseases with them.

The latest study, conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford, England, shows that the tiger mosquito, which can carry both dengue fever and chikungunya, has now spread to new regions in China, Southern Europe and the U.S. The report also shows areas that have not yet been invaded by the species.

"Given the lack of a vaccine or any antiviral treatment for either virus and the debilitating pain they both cause, knowing where the mosquitoes are spreading to and where they might turn up next is crucial for helping to protect communities," Moritz Kraemer, first author, said.

The scientists, who were originally behind the initial worldwide map distribution of the two species, are concerned that the diseases will continue to infect more people around the world. They are most concerned about Africa, which has few records for vaccines and disease cases.

"We have made our data openly available so they can be used straight away to help protect people against these viruses about which we still know so little and have so few defenses,” Professor Simon Hay, lead author, said.

Further details are available in eLife journal.