hiding in the saliva of a mosquito can hijack your body’s
first-responder cells and take a ride throughout your body.
surprising discovery, a team of European researchers has
unveiled the mechanism that mosquito-borne viruses —
including West Nile, dengue and Zika — use to infect the
rest of the body, potentially causing greater sickness.
conducted their experiments on hundreds of mice — half of
which had been bitten by mosquitoes. Then they injected a
virus into all of the mice. The virus replicated well in the
bitten mice and not much in the unbitten mice.
what scientists think happens: In response to the bite, the
body sends immunity cells to the infected area (which is what
produces the redness and swelling associated with mosquito
bites). The virus, which enters the skin through the mosquito
saliva, then infects some of the immunity cells that went to
bitten area. Those cells, now carrying the virus, spread
throughout the body and can lead to illness.
findings appeared in the latest issue of the medical journal,
researchers hope the understanding of how viruses replicate
using the body’s reaction to mosquito bites could pave the
way for more effective treatments by addressing the source of
the infection — the bite itself.