ARIZONA STAR — Researchers at the University of Arizona want to find out how long it takes the Zika virus to move from the gut of the Aedes aegypti mosquito to its salivary glands — knowledge needed to predict the potential for its spread.
The work, being done in the lab of entomologist Mike Riehle, is funded by a National Science Foundation RAPID Response Research) grant. NSF and other federal agencies want to quickly find out as much as they can about Zika.
Another question Riehle wants to answer is whether Zika can be transmitted from a female mosquito to its eggs — that could be a “game changer,” he said, making it possible for the virus to spread more quickly.
Riehle, an associate professor of entomology, is one of several researchers and public-health investigators at the UA who have been studying mosquito-borne diseases for years.
In the case of Aedes aegypti, they have been trying to figure out why viruses transmitted just south of Arizona in Mexico — dengue and Chikungunya — have not taken hold here.
The working theory is that transmission is limited by factors including a lifestyle that allows us to spend summers in screened-in, air-conditioned comfort and a hot climate that shortens the mosquito’s life.
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