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Malaria elimination more challenging than suggested earlier

London – Multiple bouts of blood feeding by mosquitoes reduce the incubation period for malaria parasites and increase malaria transmission potential, said a study. Results published in the journal PLOS Pathogens suggest that malaria elimination can be more challenging than suggested previously which typically involve a single blood meal. Malaria remains a devastating disease for tropical and subtropical regions.
It said female Anopheles gambiae mosquito, major malaria vector, feeds on blood multiple times in her lifespan. Such complex behaviour is regularly overlooked when mosquitoes are experimentally infected with malaria parasites, limiting our ability to accurately describe potential effects on transmission.
W. Robert Shaw from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the US, revealed: “We wanted to capture the fact that, in endemic regions, malaria-transmitting mosquitoes are feeding on blood roughly every 2-3 days. Our study shows that this natural behaviour strongly promotes the transmission potential of malaria parasites, in previously unappreciated ways.” The results showed that an additional blood feed three days after infection with P. falciparum accelerates the growth of the malaria parasite, thereby shortening the incubation period required before transmission to humans can occur.

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