Little pests causing a large problem

By Nina Jean-Jacques

Mosquitoes are known to be annoying. There are more annoying in poverty stricken countries where they spread diseases. The major health issue concerning mosquitoes is the spread of malaria. Researchers at Case Western Reserve University are finding that a blood type in African populations no longer protects against a specific type of malarial infection. Sub-populations in African previously showed a resistance to P. vivax malaria by having a Duffy-negative blood type. Not having the Duffy blood protein disabled the parasite from infecting red blood cells. However, a study was performed on over 600 people from different communities in Madagascar and found that 10% of people exhibiting the disease were, in fact, Duffy-negative.

This new ability of infection in these populations may be due to population mixing. Many people from Southeast Asia now live in Madagascar. These Southeast Asians are Duffy-positive. The children of those from both Duffy-negative and Duffy-positive parents show susceptibility to infections. Peter A. Zimmerman, Ph.D ., a researcher at Case Western Reserve University states that “the study confirms that P. vivax is not dependent on the Duffy antigen for establishing blood-stage infection and disease in Madagascar.” This new finding has a great impact all over Africa, where this natural immunity is the best defense against P. vivax malaria. There are approximately three million new cases of P. vivax malaria infections reported every year.

When mosquitoes bite a person infected with the disease, the malaria causing parasite is taken in as well. The mosquito then bites a healthy person, injecting the parasite into the person’s blood stream. Malaria is one of the “big three” diseases in the world because the parasites are so easily spread. It is particularly endemic in Africa where treatment is limited. There are five types of parasites of parasites that cause malaria. Most anti-malaria campaigns focus on the P. falciparum malarial infection. New efforts must be put in place to fight the P. vivax infections.


10 thoughts on “Little pests causing a large problem”

  1. It is interesting to see selection for Duffy-negative genotypes in areas where duff-positive make-ups allow for protection from malarial disease. Do the authors, or can you, share any insight into why this is occurring? What are the evolutionary implications of this change?

  2. There are many different types of pests which causes big problems in our body and we fall ill due to that infections.Biting insects are known to transmit diseases to their victims and may be responsible for serious blood loss.Garden pests multiply quickly and can destroy hours of hard work if left unchecked. All common vegetable plants and ornamental plants are susceptible to pest infestation.

  3. Mosquitoes are quite annoying to have in your home. Not only do they put one at risk of contracting Malaria, the bites cause redness, swelling and uncontrollable itching. Depending on the species, they are drawn to light, humidity, heat, odors, carbon dioxide and even sweat.

    While many people turn to store bought repellents, a lot of people use chemical methods to control these critters but later puts one at risk of memory loss, fatigue, headaches, muscle pain and shortness of breath. To avoid this, you can use natural ways to repel mosquitoes

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