Query nook: Can some mosquitoes transmit extra malaria?

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According to the World Health Organization, there were an estimated 229 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2019 and the number of malaria deaths was 4.09,000. Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites and is transmitted to humans through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. A new study (PLOS Pathogens) has shown that a mosquito with multiple blood meal attacks can shorten the parasite’s incubation time and increase the potential for malaria transmission. This poses new challenges for the current malaria eradication strategy. It also makes us rethink malaria research, which is usually done by giving mosquitoes a single meal of blood.

American researcher W. Robert Shaw, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, a lead author of the study, said in a press release that malaria-carrying mosquitoes feed on blood approximately every two to three days in endemic regions and the Study shows that this natural behavior strongly promotes the transmission potential of malaria parasites in a previously unrecognized way.

The team found that the malaria transmission potential in the sub-Saharan region is higher than previously thought, making disease elimination even more difficult. They also found that parasites can be transmitted by younger mosquitoes, who are less susceptible to insecticides.

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