Saturday, February 12, 2011

"New" malaria mosquito in West Africa

Here is a little protozoan action to go with our virus blogs!

Scientists have found a new subtype of Anopheles gambiae (a key vector for the malaria parasite) in West Africa. This subtype, in addition to being genetically distinct, was found to be especially susceptible to the malaria protozoan when compared to the other Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes in laboratory experiments. In contrast to it's "indoor-resting" relatives, the new subtype is "outdoor-resting" and stays outside of human residences. The scientists suspect that the mosquito's preference for outdoor resting explains why it has not been discovered until now, as most mosquito trapping is done indoors.

Because the scientists are still unsure of whether or not this newly discovered subtype of mosquito is a primary vector for malaria outside of the laboratory, they are searching for better ways to trap these "outdoor-resting" mosquitoes to get more information. Because vector control is such an important mode of malaria prevention, understanding this new subtype of mosquito could be important in addressing malaria control in West Africa.


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