A Moment of Science

Preventing Malaria Using Mosquitoes!

Malaria affects over two hundred million people each year and kills nearly one million. So, it's important to find a way to stop the transmission.

mosquito

Photo: Angelo Domini (Flickr)

Scientists are studying mosquitoes to better understand Malaria.

Malaria is a disease caused by a protozoan of the genus Plasmodium. The single celled organism is transmitted from one person to another through bites of anopheles mosquitoes.

Malaria affects over two hundred million people each year and kills nearly one million. Most of those victims are children. So, it’s important to find a way to stop the transmission.

Preventing Malaria

So, scientists think this may be a way to prevent malaria? Some mosquitoes are naturally resistant to spreading malaria, and scientists have been wondering why. This research found that mosquitoes with enterobacter bacteria in their midgut didn’t carry the malaria parasite.

As a matter of fact, they found that the bacteria inhibited growth up to ninety-nine percent in both mosquito guts and test tube cultures.

Now scientists have to figure out a way to apply their new discovery. In the past, we’ve used pesticides to kill mosquitoes and medicine to kill plasmodium. A new biological control method might be able to stop malaria in its tracks. All they need to do is find a way to expose mosquitoes to the bacteria, so they become resistant.

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