Spread of Infectious Disease Depends on Viral Entry Mode

The entry route of a virus changes how an insect host responds to it and eventually spreads the disease to humans.

The entry route of a virus changes how an insect host responds to it and eventually spreads the disease to humans, according to a recent study published in PLOS Pathogens.

Because insects transmit dengue, yellow fever, and other viral diseases to humans, scientists from the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia desired to understand how fruit flies cope with viral infection. Their goal was to determine what immune mechanisms are triggered, which they said could aid in preventing disease transmission.

The researchers concluded that infection is transmitted based on how a virus initially entered the host. For instance, they observed that viral particles are confined to a specific tissue in the first days of infection when the virus enters the host through feeding.

"This work shows how dramatically the response to viral infection changes with the way the viruses enter the organism,” said lead investigator Luis Teixeira in a press release.

The researchers said that understanding how viruses impact their hosts could help scientists better examine certain phenomena that occur in nature.

“By comprehending the details of the mechanisms of insects involved in the defense against viruses, we may find targets to block human diseases transmitted by insects," said study author Alvaro Gil Ferreira.