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March 1, 2017

Anopheles gambiae Mosquitos Cause Malaria

Anopheles gambiae Mosquitos Cause Malaria

The Gates Foundation of Seattle is funding projects, especially in Africa, to decrease the mosquito population. The goal is to stop mosquito-carried Malaria, a serious disease. A recent new low-tech approach is showing promise.
The female Anopheles mosquito spreads malaria. This mosquito carries the parasite that caused 214 million people to get sick last year and 438,000 people to die. Malaria has been around for over 4,000 years, but in 2007’ the Gates Foundation challenged the world to eradicate it.
Insecticides are effective in controlling malaria. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) says that since 2000, insecticides used on bed nets and in sprays have helped to cut the number of malaria cases in half. However, mosquitoes can become tolerant to insecticides, so the Foundation is searching for unique ways to control mosquitoes.
One new, effective approach is based on mosquito behavior. Malaria-carrying mosquitoes in Africa enter houses in open spaces between the roof and the wall. Researchers installed little tubes along the roofline and closed the open space between the tubes. When mosquitoes go into the tubes to enter the house, they die because each tube has screen with pesticide on it at the end. Mosquitoes are attracted into these death tubes because they smell humans in the house, and human blood is their favorite treat.
One small trial funded by the European Union was so successful that the Gates Foundation gave $10 million to expand this mosquito control project in the West African country of Ivory Coast. This approach not only stops mosquitoes but decreases the use of pesticides.
Photographer: NIAID

Published March 2017

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