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Sci Rep. 2017 Feb 16;7:42826. doi: 10.1038/srep42826.

Does Zika virus infection affect mosquito response to repellents?

Author information

1
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.
2
Department of Entomology, Centro de Pesquisas Aggeu Magalhães, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Campus da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, PE, 50.740-465, Brasil.
3
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Centro Acadêmico do Agreste - Rodovia BR-104, Km 59 - Nova Caruaru, Caruaru - PE - CEP: 55002-970, Brasil.

Abstract

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that people travelling to or living in areas with Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreaks or epidemics adopt prophylactic measures to reduce or eliminate mosquito bites, including the use of insect repellents. It is, however, unknown whether repellents are effective against ZIKV-infected mosquitoes, in part because of the ethical concerns related to exposing a human subject's arm to infected mosquitoes in the standard arm-in-cage assay. We used a previously developed, human subject-free behavioural assay, which mimics a human subject to evaluate the top two recommended insect repellents. Our measurements showed that DEET provided significantly higher protection than picaridin provided against noninfected, host-seeking females of the southern house mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus, and the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti. When tested at lower doses, we observed a significant reduction in DEET-elicited protection against ZIKV-infected yellow fever mosquitoes from old and recent laboratory colonies. The reduction in protection is more likely associated with aging than the virus infection and could be compensated by applying a 5x higher dose of DEET. A substantial protection against ZIKV-infected and old noninfected mosquitoes was achieved with 5% DEET, which corresponds approximately to a 30% dose in the conventional arm-in-cage assays.

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