Are humans to blame for new malaria ‘super’ mosquito?

A new breed of insect has appeared in the West African country of Mali, and researchers are calling it a “super” mosquito, resistant to the insecticide used in bed nets. What’s worse, the new breed of mosquito is a carrier of malaria, a potentially deadly flu-like disease that affects approximately 198 million people annually. The appearance of the mosquito is concerning enough; bed nets, which contain an insecticide to prevent mosquito bites during the night, have saved thousands of lives since their introduction. How the mosquitoes emerged, however, is even more concerning. According to research presented in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” the super mosquito is likely the result of human environmental interference. SEE ALSO: How children are helping scientists with new malaria vaccine “What we provide in this new paper is an example of one unusual mechanism that has promoted the rapid evolution of insecticide resistance in one of the major malaria mosquito species,” study author Prof. Gregory Lanzaro told MNT. He went on to explain that human destruction of certain environmental barriers is what ultimately allowed to species of mosquitoes–Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles coluzzii–to interbreed and create the new “super” mosquito. Discovery of the malaria super mosquito According to Lanzaro, reports of mosquito net failure had already been reported prior to the discovery of the new insect breed, likely the result of natural insecticide immunity. The new mosquito has rapidly sped up the process of insecticide resistance, however, and now new malaria control methods need to be developed. The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates malaria is preventable and curable; however, it still claims the lives of thousands annually. Most malaria deaths occur among children living in Africa where a child dies every minute from the mosquito-borne illness. Though treatment advances have brought the malaria survival rate up, mosquitoes are also showing advancements in resistance against insecticides and the parasite that causes malaria are showing resistance to traditional medications. SEE ALSO: Smelly feet? Key to controlling malaria in developing countries “Symptoms of malaria include fever, headache, and vomiting, and usually appear between 10 and 15 days after the mosquito bite,” states WHO. “If not treated, malaria can quickly become life-threatening by disrupting the blood supply to vital organs. In many parts of the world, the parasites have developed resistance to a number of malaria medicines.” The discovery of the new malaria mosquito in Mali is particularly concerning because the population in West Africa has been rendered extra vulnerable due to the recent and on-going Ebola epidemic.The post Are humans to blame for new malaria ‘super’ mosquito? appeared first on Voxxi.

A new breed of mosquito has appeared that is resistant to insecticide on mosquito nets. (Shutterstock)

A new breed of insect has appeared in the West African country of Mali, and researchers are calling it a “super” mosquito, resistant to the insecticide used in bed nets. What’s worse, the new breed of mosquito is a carrier of malaria, a potentially deadly flu-like disease that affects approximately 198 million people annually.

The appearance of the mosquito is concerning enough; bed nets, which contain an insecticide to prevent mosquito bites during the night, have saved thousands of lives since their introduction. How the mosquitoes emerged, however, is even more concerning. According to research presented in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” the super mosquito is likely the result of human environmental interference.

SEE ALSO: How children are helping scientists with new malaria vaccine

“What we provide in this new paper is an example of one unusual mechanism that has promoted the rapid evolution of insecticide resistance in one of the major malaria mosquito species,” study author Prof. Gregory Lanzaro told MNT. He went on to explain that human destruction of certain environmental barriers is what ultimately allowed to species of mosquitoes–Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles coluzzii–to interbreed and create the new “super” mosquito.

Discovery of the malaria super mosquito

According to Lanzaro, reports of mosquito net failure had already been reported prior to the discovery of the new insect breed, likely the result of natural insecticide immunity. The new mosquito has rapidly sped up the process of insecticide resistance, however, and now new malaria control methods need to be developed.

Mosquito nets help prevent malaria
Mosquito nets have saved thousands of lives in Mali alone. (Shutterstock)

The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates malaria is preventable and curable; however, it still claims the lives of thousands annually. Most malaria deaths occur among children living in Africa where a child dies every minute from the mosquito-borne illness. Though treatment advances have brought the malaria survival rate up, mosquitoes are also showing advancements in resistance against insecticides and the parasite that causes malaria are showing resistance to traditional medications.

SEE ALSO: Smelly feet? Key to controlling malaria in developing countries

“Symptoms of malaria include fever, headache, and vomiting, and usually appear between 10 and 15 days after the mosquito bite,” states WHO. “If not treated, malaria can quickly become life-threatening by disrupting the blood supply to vital organs. In many parts of the world, the parasites have developed resistance to a number of malaria medicines.”

The discovery of the new malaria mosquito in Mali is particularly concerning because the population in West Africa has been rendered extra vulnerable due to the recent and on-going Ebola epidemic.

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The post Are humans to blame for new malaria ‘super’ mosquito? appeared first on Voxxi.