Enhanced Zika virus susceptibility of globally invasive Aedes aegypti populations

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Science  20 Nov 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6519, pp. 991-996
DOI: 10.1126/science.abd3663

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Domesticating Zika virus

Why hasn't Zika virus (ZIKV) disease caused as much devastation in Africa, its continent of origin, as it has in the Americas? Outside of Africa, this flavivirus is transmitted by a ubiquitous mosquito subspecies, Aedes aegypti aegypti, which emerged from the African forerunner subspecies A. aegypti formosus and acquired a preference for human blood and a peridomestic lifestyle. Now, this subspecies colonizes many intertropical cities, aided by climate change and human trash. Aubry et al. tested 14 laboratory mosquito colonies for their relative susceptibility to ZIKV. Quantitative trait locus mapping showed differences on chromosome 2 between mosquitoes from Gabon and Guadeloupe. Mouse infection experiments revealed that African mosquitoes transmitted a smaller virus inoculum than the South American insects. Increased susceptibility coupled with the ability of A. aegypti aegypti to breed in any discarded object containing water has amplified the problematic nature of this virus as it has circumnavigated the world.

Science, this issue p. 991

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