Science in Action: Deadly Dengue Virus | California Academy of Sciences

Science in Action: Deadly Dengue Virus | California Academy of Sciences

♪ (light electronic music) ♪ The dengue virus is a mosquito-borne virus that infects over 100 million
people each year and there is currently no vaccine available
to prevent this infection. The common name for the virus
is called breakbone fever, and that’s actually
a really good description of how the virus makes you feel. Imagine all the things that happen to you when you get sick
with a cold, for example. You begin to sneeze, you cough,
sometimes your body temperature goes up and these are all adaptations
of the immune system to beat out a disease organism. So your body does the same thing. It basically goes through a fever to elevate body temperature
and kill off the pathogen. Although there is no cure
for the dengue virus at this moment, scientists such as Shannon
are researching the virus in order to gain a better understanding of the virus and how it infects humans. The virus is an enveloped virus. It’s got a lipid bilayer
that’s coating the virus genome, that’s kind of like a bubble or a droplet, and on the outer surface
of that bubble are proteins and those proteins are actually binding
to host white blood cells. So the white blood cells
are meant to bind to those, and they bind to the virus
and they engulf the virus into what we call a phagocytic vesicle, where it’s going to slowly digest
the virus, but the virus has tricked out the human immune system in that instead of being digested
in the phagosome it actually activates
the virus’s proteins to open up a pore into the host cell,
into the cytoplasm. Then the virus spills into the host cell. The dengue virus is mostly found in tropical areas where mosquitoes thrive. It recently appeared in Florida in 2009. As scientists are racing
to find a cure and to create a vaccine, there are precautions you can take when you travel to areas
where the dengue virus is prominent. I always tell people
to look to their own environments and be responsible in terms
of your encounters with mosquitoes because the more you encounter mosquitoes, the more likely you are to encounter an infectious disease
that’s transmitted by them. I always warn people to look around them and empty any potential water sources
on their property or in their homes or in their gardens
where the mosquitoes might breed. I try to wear long sleeves and long pants to protect myself from mosquito bites.


  1. dengue made me sick for 20 days. i died few times in hospital because of bleeding. i cannot think about those days.

  2. why scientist going on wrong turn instead of smart turn ??
    kill all mosquitoes, make them extinct. already many creatures become extinct. so nothing unusual.

  3. A very nice information. Actually my nephew has suffered from this infection. we went to many clinic and many hospitals, but result was not good. then someone told him about Planet Ayurveda. we went there, and starting treatment. Now he is fine. So, I strongly recommended Planet Ayurveda those who is facing such kind of problem or any other health related issue.

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