In the March 24 edition of mBio, the Journal of Microbiology, a revelation about the relationship between malaria and mosquitoes was announced by a team of researchers. What the team found explains why mosquitoes are attracted more strongly to some people but not others. Here is a look at what was explained in the article.
The Human Body
We consume food to gain energy, but many times there is a secondary event that occurs. When we eat onions, garlic, and many herbs, our body not only digests those foods but also exudes the oils through our skin and in the case of onions and garlic, through our breath. The same concept applies to several diseases too, in the case of this article the disease in question is Malaria.
Malaria & Mosquitoes
First, mosquitoes are not affected by the parasite that causes malaria. Parasites use a host, but do not kill the host. In the trilogy that is malaria, the players are the malaria parasite, mosquitoes, and humans. The parasite uses the mosquito for two purposes. First, the mosquito's body provides a safe environment for the parasite, and the second purpose is to transport it to a warm-blooded host. Once the mosquito bites a human, the malaria parasite is deposited into the human, and the mosquito-borne disease that we know as Malaria begins to manifest itself.
Malaria & Humans
Once the Malaria parasite is inside of a human, it begins to replicate. Our body becomes a breeding colony for Malaria. The bad thing is, is that Malaria is a disease that can kill humans, and that is something that the parasite does not want to happen. Once it has infected us, it has no control over our fate. Some humans with Malaria live, others die. Parasites do not want their host to die otherwise they die and there is no benefit to the parasite to just die. So they do something that is somewhat amazing. Let's look at what happens and why.
Humans & The Malaria Parasite
Remember earlier when we said that the human body exudes the oils and chemicals of foods that we eat? Well, insects, such as mosquitoes, use pheromones to communicate. We see this every day but may not understand it. Flowers use chemicals to attract pollinators. Dead bodies begin to emit chemicals that attract decomposing insects, such as flies. Malaria creates a pheromone that attracts mosquitoes. So once a human is inflicted with the Malaria parasite; we start to emit a chemical that attracts mosquitoes. That is exactly what the research team discovered and published in mBio. Why? The main reason is that the parasite needs the mosquitoes to transfer it to another human host. So it attracts the female mosquito because she needs a warmblood meal to produce eggs. When she feeds, she becomes a host for the Malaria parasite, and each time she feeds, she passes the Malaria parasite on to a new host.
Mosquito Misting Systems Control Mosquito Populations
It is quite an interesting system that the parasite has going. Mosquitoes in Atlanta are known to be hosts for many diseases which is exactly why mosquito eradication is important. Misting systems, such as the mosquito misting systems in Atlanta offered by Tuxedo Mosquito Control, work to effectively control mosquito populations in a family-safe way. While we do not have Malaria in the United States, we do have new reports of Yellow Fever, which is also spread by mosquitoes.