• Question: how does a mosquitoe related with malaria?

    Asked by LAX to Mel, Dorcas on 24 Sep 2014. This question was also asked by Mariana.
    • Photo: Melissa Kapulu

      Melissa Kapulu answered on 24 Sep 2014:

      @222heaa27 it is an honour that you have asked me this question :-). You should see me. I am happy and dancing because I get a chance to tell you what I do – which is how mosquitoes are related to malaria.

      Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite called Plasmodium. This parasite needs the mosquito to develop. However, the mosquito is unable to provide the right environment for all the stages of the parasite to develop. The mosquito needs blood to help it develop by laying eggs.

      Mosquitoes, mainly the Anopheles type feed on blood so that they can lay eggs. So the female mosquitoes will feed people, and if the suck blood from a person who is infected with malaria parasites, they also pick up the parasites. These parasites as I said require the mosquito to develop further. Now, the mosquito picks up mainly the sexual stages of the parasites which fertilise in the mosquito and develop into stages that can infect people. When the mosquito takes another blood meal, it takes up to 14days for the stages that infect people to develop. It is able to inject these parasites and at the same time take a blood meal to be able to lay eggs. These parasites then go the liver and then enter the blood and cause disease. In the blood they are again picked up other female mosquitoes that come to feed on peoples blood.

      So the malaria parasite takes advantage of the habits of the mosquito and to be able to survive and at the same time cause malaria. How clever is that for a parasite. Do you know of any other disease that is related to mosquitoes?