• Question: why mosquitoes get the virus of malaria

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

      Melissa Kapulu answered on 24 Sep 2014:

      Dear 245heaa27
      I was just asked this question by another student and I will give you the same answer if that is ok. However it is such 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 – how mosquitoes are related to malaria.

      Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite called Plasmodium. Parasites are different from viruses and in the case of malaria, it is a parasite that causes malaria. On the other hand, viruses are generally much more smaller than parasites.

      The parasite that causes malaria 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?