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Home | Tag Archives: Chikungunya

Tag Archives: Chikungunya

NMSU Professor Awarded $1.46 Million Grant; Will Help Study Mosquito Reproduction

A professor in New Mexico State University’s Department of Biology received a $1.46 million grant to study amino acid transport in mosquitoes in the hopes of finding new ways for controlling their population.

Immo Hansen, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, received the grant from the National Institutes of Health at the beginning of July.

“We’re going to study how mosquitoes move amino acids from one tissue to the next,” Hansen said. “They get these amino acids from our blood when they bite us. Then, in other tissues, they use these amino acids to make yolk proteins in order to make eggs and reproduce.”

The amino acids cross a layer called the mid-gut, then are transported to the fat-body tissue, where they are made into yolk proteins, Hansen said.

“The amino acids move across at least four cell membranes and in order to do that, they need a transporter protein,” Hansen. “Mosquitoes have more than 100 different amino acid transporter proteins but we’re going to focus on a group of cationic transporters that have been shown to be really important. If you can develop inhibitors that stop these transporters from doing their job, the mosquito can’t produce any fertile eggs.”

04/27/2016: Aedes aegypti mosquito specimens studied in Immo Hansen’s molecular vector physiology lab at NMSU. (Photo by Darren Phillips)

For now the research will focus on the species Aedes aegypti, the Yellow Fever mosquito, which has a dense population in southern New Mexico and is a known carrier for Dengue fever, Zika virus, and Chikungunya.

Hansen is collaborating on this research with Omar Holguin, assistant professor in NMSU’s College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences, who will conduct metabolism research on the mosquitoes. A third collaborator is Dmitri Boudko from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago, who is an expert in membrane physiology, specifically the study of ion currents in biological tissues.

“We’re going to be taking amino acid transporters from mosquitoes and express them in frog eggs,” Hansen said. “The frog eggs will then produce the mosquito transporter proteins and we can study them with a technique called electrophysiology.”

Hansen said research into population control of mosquitoes is important now because many insecticides have “lost their punch.”

“Mosquitoes in Las Cruces and Roswell are highly resistant to the typical insecticides people use,” he said. “It’s amazing how fast their resistance has evolved.”

The NIH grant will fund this research for the next four years and allow the three professors to hire a postdoctoral fellows to assist in their research.

Author: Billy Huntsman – NMSU

El Paso DPH Observes National Mosquito Control Awareness Week

In observance of National Mosquito Control Awareness Week, the Public Health and Environmental Services Departments are teaming up with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent mosquito bites, and mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile Virus, Chikungunya, Dengue, and Zika.

Mayor Dee Margo and City Council will proclaim Wednesday, June 27, 2018 “Zika Action Day” at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

In addition, health educators from the DPH will be visiting with parents and children in the Socorro area to teach the importance of preventing these diseases. Zika virus spreads through the bite of an infected mosquito, sexual intercourse, blood transfusion, and from a mother to her fetus. As a part of these presentations, the DPH will be providing women of childbearing age a kit, which includes repellent, condoms, and educational materials.

Residents can take part by following the Public Health Department on Facebook and Twitter to help spread the word. Sharing our daily posts could help save a life.

Mosquito Control Awareness Week began June 24 and runs through June 30, 2018. For more information on the Public Health Department, call 2-1-1 or visit their English-language webpage or the Spanish-language page.

The El Paso Department of Public Health is asking residents to help ‘fight the bite’ by reducing the spread of mosquito borne diseases using these prevention methods:

  • DEET – Use insect repellents that contain DEET when outdoors
  • DRESS – Wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors
  • DUSK and DAWN – Although mosquitoes associated with Zika can be active throughout the day, residents should take extra care during peak mosquito biting hours (from dusk to dawn) or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.
  • DRAIN – Drain standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, and birdbaths.

Mosquitoes Trapped in El Paso Test Positive for West Nile Virus

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health has been notified that one of several mosquito pools collected here have tested positive for West Nile Virus.

“When it comes to West Nile virus it is never really a question of ‘if’ we can expect to see the disease locally, but rather ‘when”, said Robert Resendes, Public Health Director. “What we can do is be proactive against being bitten and be aware that there are other diseases that could present themselves in El Paso.”

The Vector Control Program with the Environmental Services Department has been setting traps this season since May. The mosquito pool that tested positive was located in the central part of town within the 79903 zip code.

In years past, human cases of diseases like Chikungunya, Dengue, and Zika virus have been seen in El Paso but in travel-associated cases only. El Paso has yet to see a locally acquired case of these diseases. When it comes to West Nile, there have been no cases reported this season, but a total of 14 human cases were confirmed locally last year.

As we continue to see sporadic rains in the area, residents are reminded that it only takes a teaspoon of water to create breeding conditions around your home.

El Pasoans are urged to “Tip and Toss” items outside their homes frequently, to prevent stagnant water which could result in mosquito breeding. Residents should also follow these tips.

  • DEET – Use insect repellents that contain DEET when outdoors.
  • DRESS – Wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors.
  • DUSK and DAWN – Although mosquitoes associated with Zika can be active throughout the day, residents should take extra care during peak mosquito biting hours (from dusk to dawn) or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.
  • DRAIN – Drain standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, and birdbaths.

For more information on the Public Health Department, call 2-1-1 or visit or

Disease Prevention Encouraged During Mosquito Control Awareness Week

With the summer season upon us, and the monsoon season on its way, mosquitoes are more prevalent. The Department of Public Health is joining other agencies and organizations across the country reminding residents that mosquitoes can spread various diseases.

“We have a disease like West Nile Virus that is now commonplace in our region and we have seen a great amount of people get sick and even die from this disease over the years,” said Robert Resendes, Public Health Director. “We don’t need to wait for a novel virus like Zika to know that mosquitoes might be small creatures, but the diseases they carry can be major.”

During the week of June 25 through July 1 the Department will be using social media to drive home the importance of preventing mosquito breeding and using personal protection to prevent getting bitten.

Residents can like or follow EP Public Health on Facebook or Twitter for regular reminders on mosquito prevention.

While the Zika Virus continues to generate interest across the country and around the world, no Zika-carrying mosquitoes have been found in our area. Since there are other diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, local officials want to make sure mosquito prevention methods are being practiced to reduce the prevalence of any mosquito-borne disease.

Last season a total of three imported cases of Zika were reported in El Paso, and there were six confirmed cases of West Nile Virus recorded. Other diseases like Chikungunya and Dengue are also emerging with their spread from South and Central America into the United States.

Residents are asked to practice “The 3 D’s”:

  • Drain: Empty out water containers at least once per week
  • Dress: Wear long sleeves, long pants, and light-colored, loose-fitting clothing
  • Defend: Properly apply an approved repellent such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon-eucalyptus

In addition, the Environmental Services Vector Control Program continues its efforts to decrease the mosquito population by trapping mosquitos and fogging areas where a large presence is found. Vector Control treats all areas around the city where breeding can occur such as canals and reservoirs.

For more information on the programs and services provided, please dial 2-1-1 or visit or

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