Arbovirus danger?

Mike Poidinger mikep at
Thu Jun 29 02:00:16 EST 1995

ajmst37 at wrote:

>just doing some reading on arboviruses, and I was wondering just how 
>worried people in the U.S. should be.

Depends on where in the US you are.  Obviously the southern states are more of a
worry than northern ones.  The US has a HUGE arbovirus research team, operating
mainly out of CDC Atlanta

>  Is it true that the Aedes Aegyptes
>(sp?) mosquito is in the U.S.?  Is this not the same mosquito that carries
>yellow fever and Dengue fever? 

Yes, but arbovirus ecology depends on more than just a moquito vector.  You also
need mosquito breeding grounds, a suitable vertebrate host that the mozzie
usually bites, and a high enough level of viraemia in the usual hosts to allow
spill over into the human population.

> Since the attempted malaria eradication,
>are all mosquitos immune to most pesticides, or is that still the best way
>to prevent arbovirus outbreaks?

It is not so much mosquito immuity but rather any kind of pesticide spraying has
limited efficiency when you are dealing with an airborn insect that travels and
breeds over a huge area.  For the same reason larval fogging doesn't serve much
use either.  As for preventing outbreaks....gotta pass on that one.  About the
most you can do is keep up surveillance so that you get some kind of advance
warning that an outbreak is possible.

>By the way, how long has Dengue been around, and could it really become
>a serious problem in the U.S.?

Who knows? 1000 years? 10 000 years?  They could become a problem in the US, but
Chaos Theory prevents me from quantifying it for you.

Please note whilst I work in arbovirology, it is more from a molecular than an
ecological point of view, so the above responses should be taken in that light.
Also, there are a number of excellent books on the arboviruses, including

"The Togaviridae and Flaviviridae" (1986) Schlesinger S and Schlesinger MJ
(eds), Plenum Press, New York.


Dr Mike Poidinger      Now don't be lazy, 
Microbiology, UQ       with the pleasure of sin  (Nitzer Ebb)
mikep at  

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