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Malaria: Almost one-third of mosquito bites that cause illness occur daily

A detailed analysis of mosquito bites in the Central African Republic, contrary to assumptions, found that many occur indoors during the day when people are not well protected by traditional anti-malaria defenses.


May 16, 2022

Female Anopheles that seems to bite

Shutterstock / Amir Ridhwan

Mosquitoes that carry malaria account for up to 30 percent of indoor bites during the day. This finding may help in combating malaria, which tends to focus on the night feeding of insects.

Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal illness spread by women Anopheles mosquito. When an insect eats blood to nourish an egg, the parasite travels through saliva to the victim. In 2020, 241 million cases Malaria and about 627,000 deaths.

Earlier estimates of mosquito bites patterns assumed that insects were mainly fed at night. However, until now, their daytime chewing behavior has not been scrutinized. Claire Sangbakembi-Ngounou Institute Pasteur Debangi In the Central African Republic, I noticed that mosquitoes in the capital seemed to be bitten 24 hours a day and decided to investigate.

In June 2016, Sangbakembi-Ngounou, her colleague, and a team of volunteers launched a one-year mosquito collection project. They took turns working six hours each month, spending 48 hours collecting mosquitoes in four different locations in the city. As soon as the mosquitoes landed on them-but before they started feeding-the collector trapped the insects in a glass jar.

Volunteers are rewarded for their efforts Anti-malaria drug If they are infected with a pathogen. During a year of research, the team collected nearly 8,000 malaria-carrying mosquitoes from eight different species.

Carlo Constantini At the University of Montpellier, France, we have developed a model that displays the feeding time of insects over 48 hours. Analysis revealed that most sting events occurred indoors and between dusk and dawn, but researchers were surprised that 20-30% of mosquito bites were indoors during the day. Occurred in.

“It was a bit of a shock,” says Costantini. He hopes that this study will trigger other entomologists to take daytime samples. “If you really want to understand the scope of the problem, you need to start measuring malaria infection in the right way that covers the entire 24 hours.”

The two most widely used strategies for preventing malaria, hanging mosquito nets treated with pesticides and spraying pesticides, are primarily prioritized at home.

Diego AyalaAlso from the University of Montpellier, pesticides can be applied to other buildings, such as schools, workplaces and shops, where people spend a lot of time indoors during the day. “If you want to eradicate malaria, you may need to include those places,” he says.

Journal reference: PNAS, DOI: 10.1073 / pnas.2104282119

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Malaria: Almost one-third of mosquito bites that cause illness occur daily

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