Dengue mosquitoes hitch rides on Amazon river boats

PBEE alumna, Sarah Anne Guagliardo, and PBEE faculty members, Drs. Uriel Kitron and Gonzalo Vazquez-Prokopec, published a study in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases that shows how the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is normally associated with urban areas, is tapping human transportation networks to expand its range.

To learn how the mosquitoes of Iquitos hitch rides with humans, the researchers investigated six different vehicle types, from large and medium-sized barges, water taxis and speedboats to buses and road taxis.

Some of the large barges of Iquitos with infestations of adult and immature mosquitoes were surveyed repeatedly by the research team during different seasons of the year. "It turns out the barges that were infested were consistently infested, and that a small proportion of barges produce the vast majority of mosquitoes," Guagliardo says. "Some boats may act as super-transporters of mosquitoes, just as individual human hosts may act as super-spreaders of pathogens."

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