News Scan for Jan 13, 2017

More H7N9 cases in China
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Dengue mosquitoes

H7N9 avian flu sickens 5 more in China

Five more human H7N9 avian flu illnesses have been reported in China, one from Henan province and four from Anhui province, according to government statements translated and posted by FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board.

A Chinese state news outlet quoting Henan provincial health officials said a 36-year-old duck seller from Zhejiang province had visited the city of Yongcheng in Henan province but died from his illness in Jiangsu province.

The four cases from Anhui province were noted as part of a routine infectious disease report for the month of December, according to FluTrackers. The province had 14 H7N9 cases overall, but 10 had been reported earlier. Three of the cases were fatal.

China has now reported at least 137 cases in its fifth wave of H7N9 activity that began in October. Globally, the number of illnesses reported since the virus was first detected in humans in 2013 is at 945, according to a case list maintained by FluTrackers.
Jan 13 FluTrackers thread on Henan province case
Jan 12 FluTrackers thread on Anhui province cases
FluTrackers H7N9 case list

 

Genetically modified mosquitoes resist dengue infection

Researchers from John Hopkins University have developed a genetically modified mosquito that is resistant to dengue virus. The bug could help limit the spread of the disease that kills more than 200,000 people each year.

The researchers, writing in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, describe how they changed the JAK/STAT pathway in the immune system of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The JAK-STAT pathway regulates production of antiviral factors and lives in the fat body of the mosquito, which acts like the bug’s liver. While low levels of dengue were still present in the mosquitoes' salivary glands, they did not transmit the virus effectively.

Unfortunately, the bugs did not show heightened resistance to Zika or chikungunya virus, which shows that Flaviviridae are genetically diverse and present unique challenges to mosquito immune systems.

“This study serves as a proof-of-concept that genetic engineering of the Ae. aegypti JAK/STAT pathway has potential to increase resistance to DENV,” the authors write.
Jan 13 PLoS Negl Trop Dis study

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