• Question: can a pregnant mosquito spread malaria

    Asked by aawb279 to Cheryl, Christina, Daniel, George, Ivy on 21 Jan 2017.
    • Photo: Cheryl Andisi

      Cheryl Andisi answered on 21 Jan 2017:

      The malaria parasite is spread by “pregnant ” female mosquitoes known as Anopheles. Usually, different mosquito species prefer different kinds of meals ranging from plant juices to blood from cows, chicken and other domestic animals. When the anopheline female mosquitoes are preparing to lay their eggs, they prefer to feed on blood meals. It is during this feeding that the mosquito gets infected with the malaria parasite, which develops within the mosquitoes, migrating through their stomach walls to their salivary glands. During that mosquito’s next meal, when it pierces your skin, it needs to stop blood clotting and it does this by injecting its saliva into your skin. It is during this time that the parasite gets into your body, and continues its development in your body causing malaria, and also making forms of the parasite that can be picked up by another mosquito when it comes for its blood meal.

      So when you think about it, the mosquitoes are victims just as we are! Scientists have been working on the possibility of ‘vaccinating’ mosquitoes in order to prevent them from getting malaria and consequently spreading the parasite to its vertebrates hosts