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Investigating Potential Effects of Dengue Virus Infection and Pre-exposure to DEET on Aedes aegypti Behaviors

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Technical Report

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Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Bethesda United States

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Other than being a nuisance, mosquito bites can potentially transmit pathogens, to include malaria parasites and dengue virus DENV, which can cause severe diseases and mortality. Therefore, reducing mosquito-human contact is an important step to prevent diseases. Mosquito behaviors are heavily influenced by chemical cues in the surrounding environment that are perceived through the mosquito olfactory system. This knowledge has been harnessed to human advantages, such as in the development of some traps and repellent chemicals. However, mosquito behaviors have been reported to change following pathogen infection or previous chemical exposure. This behavioral change can potentially diminish the value of preventive measures, such as the widely used repellent, DEET. In this study, we assessed potential behavioral change that might stem from DENV infection or DEET pre-exposure as a means to understand how these factors might affect the efficacy of DEET as a preventive tool for public health. In our first aim, we evaluated if infection by DENV-1 could alter the behavioral response of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to DEET. Using the high throughput screening system HITSS chamber, we subjected three different groups of mosquitoes DENV-1-injected, diluent-injected, and uninjected to behavioral tests in order to identify any temporal and concentration dependent behavioral changes from DENV-1 infection. We found no effect of DENV-1 infection on the irritancy behavioral response of Ae. aegypti to DEET. From the public health perspective, this result should be seen as an encouraging one as it provides evidence of DEET efficacy in inducing irritancy in DENV-1-infected, as well as uninfected mosquitoes. However, additional studies involving other aspects of mosquito behavior, other arthropod-borne viruses arboviruses, and other chemicals are necessary to provide the full answer on the effect of infection on vector behavior.

Subject Categories:

  • Microbiology
  • Agricultural Chemistry
  • Biology

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