Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The malaria mosquito is disappearing -- but it is not just good news

26.08.2011
The incidence of malaria in many African countries south of the Sahara is falling rapidly.

A Danish-Tanzanian research group has discovered that the mosquito carrying the malaria parasite has practically disappeared from villages without organized mosquito control, and the researchers do not know why. There are several hypotheses but without proper data they cannot say whether malaria is being eradicated or whether it is just resting up before returning with renewed vigour.

"Many of our fellow malaria researchers think that the fall in countries such as Tanzania, Eritrea, Rwanda, Kenya and Zambia shows that all the control programmes are working, particularly the use of mosquito nets," says Associate Professor Dan Meyrowitsch from the Department of Health Services Research at the University of Copenhagen, and continues:

"That just isn't the whole story. For more than ten years we have been collecting and counting the number of mosquitoes in Tanzanian villages. The number in our traps fell from 5300 in 2004 to just 14 in 2009, and these were from villages without mosquito nets."

Dan Meyrowitsch explains that the 99 % fall in the malaria mosquito population during the end of the 1990s seems to be connected to a fall in precipitation. This may be due to global climate changes.

"From 2003 to 2009 the volume of precipitation was more stable, but the rain was more chaotic and fell outside the rainy season. And this may have disturbed the natural cycle of mosquito development," he says.

"Of course it is great that the number of malaria-related fatalities among children has fallen drastically in the last five or six years, but we need to know why!"

Since the researchers can discount mosquito nets, the question is whether the mosquitoes have succumbed to disease, or communities have been using pesticides, or whether the fall is due to the chaotic new precipitation patterns.

"Unless we find the answer we will not be able to predict when the malaria mosquitoes will come back, and that could rapidly prove critical," Dan Meyrowitsch explains.

Many children and adults have not been exposed to malaria in the last five or six years, and so have lost or failed to develop immunity to the parasite.

When the mosquitoes suddenly come back this may mean dramatic malaria epidemics with many fatalities unless the population and the health authorities are ready for them.

The Danish research group comes from three departments at the University of Copenhagen: the Department of International Health, Immunology and Microbiology, the Department of Public Health, and the Department of Veterinary Disease Biology.

The study is funded by the EU, DBL - Center for Health Research and Development, and The Consultative Research Committee for Development Research, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Denmark. It was conducted in close cooperation with researchers from the National Institute for Medical Research in Tanzania.

The study: Is the current decline in malaria burden in sub-Saharan Africa due to a decrease in vector population? is published in Malaria Journal.

Dan Wolf Meyrowitsch | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ku.dk

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecular Force Sensors

20.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Producing electricity during flight

20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>