This is crazy… and a little alarming… but could lead to something good. So let’s dig a little deeper.
When a mosquito bites you, it uses its saliva to thin your blood so that it can drink it more easily. It’s long been known that it’s actually your reaction to the saliva that makes those little bites itch. In 2012 Rebecca Rico-Hesse, a virologist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston Texas was researching the dengue virus and hemorrhagic fever.
During her research, she came across an interesting occurrence that she hadn’t expected. When mice were infected with dengue fever by being bitten by mosquitoes they became much sicker than those that were infected by being injected with the virus. This led Rico-Hesse to do more research with mosquito saliva and infections in mice. What she saw was that the mosquito saliva had an effect on the immune system which could give an infectious disease a faster route to its desired location in the body.
The effects lasted up to 7 days helping to actually spread the viruses. “Mosquito saliva has evolved to modify our immune system,” Rico-Hesse says. Viruses and parasites may be using this evolution to get to the cells that they reproduce in faster.
How Could Immune System Suppression Lead to Good?
Duane Gubler, an international health expert says this work could eventually lead to infection blocking vaccines. Rico-Hesse believes so as well. She says, “If we can make a vaccine that would protect us against the effects of the [mosquito] saliva, or blocking our immune reaction … then we could stop global vector-borne diseases.”
Hope for vaccines for mosquito-borne illness is huge in a world where new and more diseases are on the rise. However, before the vaccines are discovered we must protect ourselves from mosquitoes and the diseases they carry, especially if they can have an effect on our immune system.
At Mosquito Squad of Chelmsford & Cambridge, we want to help keep you from getting bitten at all. Our barrier treatment eliminates 85-90% of existing mosquitoes in your yard and continues to work for up to 3 weeks. We have great faith in research and new scientific discoveries, but sometimes the old tried and true remedies are the best ones in the interim. Call us today at (978) 381-4028 to schedule your first of many highly effective mosquito control treatments.