Mosquito survey identifies reservoir of disease

A large scale, five year study of mosquitoes from different ecological regions in Kenya, including savannah grassland, semi-arid Acacia thorn bushes, and mangrove swamps, found a reservoir of viruses carried by mosquitoes (arboviruses) that are responsible for human and animal diseases. This research, published in BioMed Central's open access journal Virology Journal, highlights the need for continued surveillance in order to monitor the risk of disease outbreaks.

Over 450,000 mosquitoes from 11 sites across Kenya were screened by researchers from the United States Army Medical Research Unit,- Kenya (part of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research), Kenya Medical Research Institute, and the International Centre for and Ecology in Nairobi. 83 different viruses were identified, including alphaviruses, and orthobunyaviruses.

Mosquitoes were infected with West Nile, Ndumu, Sindbis, Bunyamwera, Pongola and Usutu virus at many test sites which represented diverse ecological locations. These viruses pose a significant public health problem especially in East Africa. has been a source of concern, not only in East Africa but around the world with outbreaks recently in the US and across Europe. Ngari virus, which was associated with hemorrhagic fever in northern Kenya in the late 1990s was isolated from two sites in Kenya

Previously unknown viruses were also found: one with similarities to the newly discovered Chaoyang virus in China, and two more related to Quang Binh virus.

From the location of infected mosquitoes it seems that livestock as well as mosquitoes could be a reservoir of disease. Caroline Ochieng who led the study explained, "The importance of mosquitoes in the spread of arboviral diseases in East Africa cannot be over-emphasized. They have caused outbreaks afflicting both human and livestock with devastating public health and . Implementation of mosquito and arbovirus surveillance is therefore vital as part of an early warning system and rapid response plan."

Commenting on the potential impact of this study Linfa Wang, Editor-in-Chief of Virology Journal said, "This important study highlights the need for on-going surveillance in animals and insect vectors, in order to prepare for potential virus outbreaks in humans."

More information: Mosquito-borne arbovirus surveillance at selected sites in diverse ecological zones of Kenya; 2007—2012. Caroline Ochieng, Joel Lutomiah, Albina Makio, Hellen Koka, Edith Chepkorir, Santos Yalwala, James Mutisya, Lillian Musila, Samoel Khamadi, Jason Richardson, Joshua Bast, David Schnabel, Eyako Wurapa and Rosemary Sang Virology Journal 2013 10:140, doi:10.1186/1743-422X-10-140

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

West Nile virus on the rise in US: CDC

Aug 02, 2012

(HealthDay) -- With 241 cases of West Nile virus and four related deaths reported so far this year, the United States is experiencing the biggest spike in the mosquito-borne illness since 2004, health officials ...

West Nile outbreak—more questions than answers

Aug 27, 2012

The weather may not be the only culprit behind the country's worst outbreak of West Nile virus. Public health researchers are investigating whether the virus itself has changed.

Recommended for you

Ebola death toll rises to 5,459: WHO

1 hour ago

The World Health Organization said Friday that 5,459 people had so far died of Ebola out of a total 15,351 cases of infection in eight countries since late December 2013.

Flu season off to a slow start ... for now

4 hours ago

(HealthDay)—This year's flu season is off to a slow but detectable start. And it appears to be a typical one that's likely to peak in January or February, a leading U.S. health official says.

Update on new treatments for liver diseases

5 hours ago

Cirrhosis and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are two serious liver conditions with limited pharmacological treatments. The December issues of AGA's journals—Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Gastro ...

Amateur photographers aid in remote skin sore trial

6 hours ago

Paediatric infectious disease specialists are bringing novel skin sore research methods to WA in the form of a protocol allowing non-professional photographers to capture high-quality images of skin sores ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.