Study: Mosquitoes in Dry Climates More Attracted to Human Blood

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Manage episode 271845493 series 2530089
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A team of international researchers conducted a study to determine why certain mosquitoes developed a preference for human blood. According to study co-author Noah Rose, mosquitoes found in dense human populations in cities with intense dry seasons evolved to have a stronger preference for human blood. The researchers speculate that the evolution happened because humans living in these cities tend to store water, which mosquitoes depend on for survival. For the study, the researchers examined Aedes aegypti mosquito populations from 27 locations across Africa. These mosquitoes have a strong preference for human hosts and are well-known carriers of dengue and Zika viruses. The researchers collected egg samples of the mosquitoes for three years and conducted laboratory tests on each population. They found that urbanization increased mosquitoes’ tendency to bite humans, but it did not have a major effect. Professor Carolyn McBride explained that it is only when these extremely populated cities experience long and hot dry seasons that mosquitoes become more interested in feeding on humans. The researchers predict that rapid urbanization in Africa will cause mosquitoes to further evolve. This evolution may result in more human-biting mosquitoes in several populated cities by 2050. The researchers added that understanding why these mosquitoes prefer to bite humans is crucial in forecasting outbreaks and preventing millions of deaths caused by mosquito bites each year.

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