A study carried out by the Health and Biotechnology Research Group of the Hunting Resources Research Institute (IREC), which includes the University of Castilla-La Mancha and the Higher Council for Scientific Research, has shown that the common mosquito -Ā« Culex pipiensĀ»- does not transmit the hepatitis E virus.

This virus is currently one of the main causes of acute human viral hepatitis in developing countries and causes tens of thousands of deaths each year throughout the world. According to this research, which has been published in the journal “Frontiers in Veterinary Science”, some strains of this virus are zoonotic, that is, they are transmitted between people and animals. Pigs, wild boars, cows, deer or rats are reservoirs for the different viruses that cause hepatitis E in people. In addition, since cases in animals and people are more frequent in spring and summer, it is possible that these viruses are transmitted by insects, such as mosquitoes, or by ticks that are active and abundant in these seasons of the year.

In the case of common mosquito bites -it is the females that bite because they need blood to reproduce- a laboratory colony was created and maintained and an experimental infection study was carried out with plasma extracted from patients with acute hepatitis E, to what they were fed with infected blood. The conclusion of the study is that the common mosquito “is not a competent vector for this virus and, therefore, is not responsible for the seasonality in the presentation of the disease in animals and people.”

However, the authors of this research point out that the bites of female common mosquitoes – present throughout the world – are responsible for tens of thousands of deaths each year in the world due to the transmission of viruses, bacteria or other parasites that cause diseases such as West Nile Virus, dengue, yellow fever or malaria.

On the other hand, changes in the environment and climate favor mosquitoes to reproduce more, survive better, increase their population and even establish invasive species such as the tiger mosquito. In the case of Spain, these scientists anticipate an increase in cases of endemic diseases in the country as well as the emergence of exotic or new diseases transmitted by local or invasive mosquitoes. Thus, although the common mosquito is not a vector for the hepatitis E virus, it is for many other emerging diseases in Spain, which is why these authors warn of the importance of preventing bites, especially during hot times of the year, by using repellents , wearing light clothes that cover arms and legs at sunset and using elements that prevent mosquitoes from entering the house, such as mosquito nets or curtains.

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