Dengue epidemic in Central America due to mutation?

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Mutation in mosquito genome could have caused dengue epidemic in Central America

A dengue epidemic is currently raging in Central America. Nicaraguan scientist around the doctor Dr. Ricardo Aguilar Noguera of the Barrios clinical laboratory in Chinandega suspect that a mutation in the mosquito genome is responsible for the outbreak.

Dengue epidemic already kills fatalities in Central America In Nicaragua, 2,000 people are already ill. At least five deaths from dengue have been recorded. The situation is even more dramatic in neighboring Honduras. There is talk of 16,000 people, of whom around 2,000 suffer from a serious form of the infectious disease. There were also at least 17 deaths. The government had already declared a state of emergency at the end of July.

Nicaraguan scientists may have tracked down the cause of the dengue epidemic. The yellow fever mosquito is the carrier of dengue fever. Mutations in their genes could have made the mosquitoes much more aggressive and resistant to traditional insecticides. The animals could fly up to eight kilometers and endanger the entire population, according to a report in the newspaper "El Nuevo Diario". "Dengue fever has always existed in this region, but more and more cases of a variant are known that destroy the platelets and quickly lead to death," Dr. Aguilar Noguera cited in the report.

The doctor calls on the Ministry of Health in Nicaragua to act quickly. New chemicals or biological methods to control the mosquitoes would have to be found. For this purpose, a lizard species was imported from Cuba in the 1980s to fight the insects. However, many animals were killed out of ignorance.

No vaccination against dengue fever To date, there is no effective vaccine against dengue viruses. Although the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur celebrated the development of such a vaccine as a breakthrough in September last year, even the authors of the study on which the vaccine was based in the specialist magazine "The Lancet" pointed to an effectiveness of only up to 30 percent. The group was accused of only wanting to boost the sale of the product.

Dengue fever manifests itself through symptoms such as fever, rash and severe headache, muscle and joint pain. Infectious disease is an exception in Germany, but the number of cases is increasing. Travelers are increasingly bringing the disease with them from abroad or unintentionally introducing the pathogen.

Image: Stefan Klaffehn /

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