DEET Resistance Aids Transmission of West Nile Virus

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 31 January 2019


DEET Resistance Aids Transmission of West Nile Virus

Aedes Aegypti
Aedes aegypti feeding in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, By Muhammad Mahdi Karim.
Aedes aegypti feeding in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. "...Originally found in tropical and subtropical zones, but now found on all continents except Antarctica, " WikiImage by Muhammad Mahdi Karim.


Insecticide resistance genes affect vector competence for West Nile virus,
Institut Pasteur, January 31, 2019.

Main Points

Skeeter Resistance Rising
"...the overuse of insecticides leads to the selection of mosquitoes with insecticide resistance genes. Insecticide resistance has been reported to affect interactions between mosquitoes and the pathogens they transmit."

Resistant Skeeters Transmit West Nile, "Better."
"For RVFV (Rift Valley fever virus), vector competence remains unchanged whether the mosquito is resistant or susceptible. However, resistant mosquitoes transmit better WNV (West Nile Virus) than susceptible mosquitoes."


The Bottom Line

Requirements of Mountain Safety Changing

Today, I reccomend mosquito defence using either DEET (the 100% solution), or clothing, depending on your preferences and conditions. This may soon change.

The rise of insecticide resistant skeeters, along with the spead of new and dangerous mosquitoes and their scary tropical pathogens North into (and past!), the High Sierra, who are also themselves likely evolving resistance to DEET, means that we may soon have to abandon the DEET strategy in favor of clothing protection.

Exposed skin will still be treated with DEET, but it will no longer be relied upon as our primairy means of skeeter defence while traveling or in camp, if the distribution of new skeeters, and their resistance to insecticides keeps increasing.


Skeeters developing resistance to DEET in World and Sierra

Picaridin Saving more Skeeters than it’s Killing?




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