One thing that everyone can agree on is that mosquitoes are annoying. Nothing spoils a nice day outdoors quite like the incessant buzzing and biting that mosquitoes bring. And that’s not all there is to these nasty hordes. Mosquitoes are vectors for some of the world’s most feared infections. We are talking viruses that cause yellow fever, dengue and Zika. And many other types of pathogenic or disease-causing microbes like malaria can be transmitted by mosquitos.

Much research has been done on how mosquitoes target individuals. They are attracted to certain colors of clothing, the carbon dioxide that we exhale, certain blood types (if your blood type is O, watch out!) and certain scents. Recent research now shows that animals infected with the Zika virus or dengue virus become more attractive to mosquitoes. The virus changes the host to enhance the chances it is the target of a blood meal and transmitted to the next animal. Sinister, don’t you think? No wonder about half the world’s population is at risk for dengue fever.

Medical Discovery News is a weekly radio and print broadcast highlighting medical and scientific breakthroughs hosted by professor emeritus, Norbert Herzog, and professor, David Niesel, biomedical scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Learn more at www.medicaldiscoverynews.com

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