When mosquitoes bite, the effect may be much more than just skin deep. Researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, found mosquito bites can meddle with our immune systems for days, right down to our bone marrow. Mosquito saliva helps dengue replicate and spread around our bodies. Their findings might mean we need to rethink how we prevent, diagnose and treat dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases.
“We realized we knew little about what happens inside us after a mosquito with dengue bites,” Professor Rebecca Rico-Hesse, a virologist at Baylor College of Medicine, told us. “So, we developed a model to show how dengue fever behaves inside a human, using ‘humanized’ mice.”