New malaria-carrying mosquito found in African cities

By - World Healthcare Journal

New malaria-carrying mosquito found in African cities

A new mosquito is emerging in cities across the Horn of Africa - with potentially devastating effects for those who live there, according to a new study.

Researchers from the Netherlands Radboud University Medical Center and the Armauer Hansen Research Institute in Ethiopia have said that the larvae of Anopheles stephensi (India's main mosquito vector of malaria) are now 'abundantly present' in locations across Africa, posing an even greater threat of Malaria across the continent.

Even though this mosquito only appeared in Africa a few years ago, the species is now “abundantly” found in water containers in many cities, such as Sudan, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. Worse still, it is even more susceptible to local strains of malaria, according to the researchers.

"To our surprise, the Asian mosquito turned out to be even more susceptible to local malaria parasites than our Ethiopian mosquito colony. This mosquito appears to be an extremely efficient spreader of the two main species of malaria," said Teun Bousema, Professor of Epidemiology at Radboud University Medical Center.

Despite great progress in the development of treatments and vaccines over the past 10 years, malaria remains one of the deadliest diseases in the world, with more than 400,000 people dying from it per year. This also makes the mosquito the deadliest animal on the face of the Earth.

In normal circumstances, malaria is spread by a species of mosquito that breed in rural areas - but with the emergence of this mosquito, which has already been found in major cities, urban areas are at a much greater risk of infection.

As such, the researchers have called for “an aggressive approach” to dealing with this new vector.

"We must target the mosquito larvae in places where they now occur and prevent mosquitoes from spreading over long distances, for example via airports and sea ports. If that fails, the risk of urban malaria will rise in large parts of Africa," says study author Fitsam Tadesse, a doctoral student at Radboud University Medical Center.

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