2005
James Gathany

This 2005 photograph depicts a female Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is the primary vector for the spread of Dengue fever, The responsible virus that causes Dengue is maintained in the mosquito’s life cycle, and involves humans to whom the virus is transmitted when bitten. The female mosquito pictured here, is shown as she was obtaining a blood meal by inserting the feeding stylet through the skin, and into a blood vessel. Blood can be seen being drawn up through the stylet, and into the mosquito’s mouth.

Aedes aegypti is a domestic, day-biting mosquito that prefers to feed on humans; Dengue is spread by the female A. aegypti only, for the male does not bite. Infection with dengue viruses produces a spectrum of clinical illness ranging from a nonspecific viral syndrome to severe and fatal hemorrhagic disease.

Important risk factors for DHF include the strain and serotype of the infecting virus, as well as the age, immune status, and genetic predisposition of the patient. Primarily a disease of the tropics, Dengue fever is an infectious disease carried by mosquitoes, and is caused by any of four related dengue viruses: DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4. This disease used to be called “break-bone” fever because it sometimes causes severe joint and muscle pain. A person can be infected by at least two, if not all four types at different times during a life span, but only once by the same type.

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