Having an iron-rich diet may be an effective way to control dengue virus as mosquitoes are more likely to acquire the virus when they feed on iron-deficient blood, according to recent Chinese research.
Dengue virus is a mosquito-borne arbovirus, and blood is the primary route through which mosquitoes acquire dengue virus infections. Blood components or their metabolites may influence the spread of dengue virus.
Researchers from Tsinghua University, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the University of Connecticut have conducted a series of screenings on blood components and found that serum iron in human blood modulates dengue virus acquisition by mosquitoes. Dengue virus acquisition by mosquitoes was inversely correlated with the iron concentration in serum from human donors.
This study showed that mosquitoes are less likely to acquire dengue virus when they feed on blood with high levels of iron. When the iron in the serum is acquired into the mosquito gut, it will help produce more reactive oxygen species, which controls the spread of the virus in mosquitoes.
This study indicates that iron supplementation reduces dengue transmission by mosquitoes, providing a new perspective for controlling the disease.
The results were published in the journal Nature Microbiology.