New Delhi: As per a new study, the primary mosquito that spreads Zika virus -- aedes aegypti -- might also simultaneously transmit chikungunya and dengue viruses with a single bite.
"A mosquito, in theory, could give you multiple viruses at once," said Claudia Ruckert, post-doctoral researcher at Colorado State University in the US.
In the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, the team infected mosquitoes in the lab with multiple kinds of viruses to learn more about the transmission of more than one infection from a single mosquito bite.
The results showed that mosquitoes in the lab can transmit all three viruses simultaneously, although this is likely to be extremely rare in nature.
"Dual infections in humans, however, are fairly common, or more common than we would have thought," Ruckert added.
Further, all the three viruses were found to replicate in a really small area in the mosquito's body.
One virus proved to be dominant and outcompeted the others in the midgut of the mosquito where the infections establish and replicate before being transmitted to humans.
(With Agency inputs)