Research

Contact

Dr. Eleonora SchönherrPresse- & ÖffentlichkeitsarbeitPhone: +49 40 42818-269
Mail: presse(at)bnitm.de

Julia HäberleinPresse- & ÖffentlichkeitsarbeitPhone: +49 40 42818-264
Mail: presse(at)bnitm.de

Hardly a Chance for Zika Viruses

The Zika virus is of global concern since it spread epidemically in Latin America and caused severe birth deformities in pregnan-cies. In our biosafety insectary, we studied domestic mosquito species (Culex spp.) as well as the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), which is currently invading Germany from the south, with regard to their competence to transmit Zika viruses.

Mosquitoes (Culex pipiens) in the laboratory feeding on Q-tips that have been soaked in virus-containing blood. Other mosquitoes feed on blood spots on surfaces (see cover), and still others like Anopheles mosquitoes only if they bite through membranes.
Mosquitoes (Culex pipiens) in the laboratory feeding on Q-tips that have been soaked in virus-containing blood. Other mosquitoes feed on blood spots on surfaces (see cover), and still others like Anopheles mosquitoes only if they bite through membranes.

None of the domestic mosquitoes was able to do so and Aedes albopictus only at tempe-ratures above 27oC . These high temperatu-res have to be stable over two to three weeks to allow sufficient virus propagation, this only occurs in extraordinarily hot German summers. Additionally, for causing an outbreak, a person carrying Zika viruses in the blood must enter the country and must be bitten by one of these mosquitoes during such a period – an extremely unlikely event.


Heitmann A. et al., Euro Surveill 2017, 22:pii=30437

Anna Heitmann, Stephanie Jansen, Renke Lühken, Mayke Leggewie, Marlis Badusche, Jonas Schmidt- Chanasit, Egbert Tannich and external co-operation partners (see publication)