Friday, February 4, 2011

The indestructible insect: New mosquito that evades malaria control measures is 'impossible' to kill off

A new type of mosquito discovered in Africa could further complicate the fight to control malaria, according to scientists.

French researchers collecting mosquitoes from ponds near villages in Burkina Faso, West Africa, say they have identified a subtype of the Anopheles gambiae unlike any documented before.

The mosquito is highly susceptible to infection with the malaria parasite, likes to rest outside, not indoors, and can therefore evade most current control measures.

Dr Ken Vernick discovered the mosquito - nicknamed Goundry after one of the villages near where it was discovered - with colleagues at the French National Centre for Scientific Research in Paris.

He said: 'They are very susceptible to the human malaria parasite, we know they belong to a species that has an exquisite preference for human blood, and we know they are abundant in the population.'

Dr Vernick said his team is not yet able to quantify how much malaria transmission this new mosquito subtype is responsible for, but they feared it might be a major factor. Read more...