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The Western Tongue Twisting Chikungunya Vector

Posted on Jan 12, 2015 by in The OFI Blog |


The Asian tiger mosquito


While the tropical disease chikungunya was noticed just last year in the Caribbean, it spread viciously throughout the Americas in 2014. The tongue twisting chikungunya vector made its first appearance in Florida, U.S.A in July and when it struck Panama it prompted Smithsonian scientists to examine the strange disease.

The disease causes fever, fatigue, and joint swelling and is transmitted by the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus.

Since the disease has spread two postdoctoral fellows from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), José Loaiza whom has done years of mosquito surveys prior to the spread of the disease and Matthew Miller who was lead author of a study on the mosquito and the disease have helped the Panamanian government think of out-of-the-box techniques to help deal with the crisis.

Some of these being things such as fumigating vehicles at checkpoints already set up to stop the spread and using other genetically modified mosquitoes to displace the Asian tiger mosquito.

Read more on this tongue twisting disease here.