Recent news reported that mosquitoes’ life is about to be ended.
It appears that mosquito is the deadliest animal in the world, causing more deaths than any other animal species.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mosquito bites kill more than one million individuals every year. Most of the deaths are due to malaria disease which is caused by a parasite transmitted by mosquitoes. In 2001 British researchers diagnosed the first case of malaria—which dates from 450 AD—using samples of parasite’s DNA from a children’s cemetery in Italy.
It was estimated that malaria disease caused the deaths of half of all the individuals who ever lived. Moreover, as statistics show, 300-600 million victims are infected each year. These insects also spread parasites which develop filariasis and elephantiasis that also cause death among people. Mankind has been trying to fight mosquitoes for years using various type of products which may eradicate the insect.
However, eradication of these disease-transmitting insects is not easy. The most successful campaign concerning public health was the extermination of smallpox. Scientists say this was possible because the virus was an easy target compared with mosquitoes. It appears that smallpox virus mutated slowly and it had no connection whatsoever with insects.
In contrast, mosquitoes that spread malaria are known to mutate faster than any other species. Moreover, according to experts 40 species of insects are believed to spread the virus which causes malaria. The statistics appear to be alarming and massive efforts are already being made in order to eradicate the insect.
In various parts of the world chemicals such as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) are currently being used to in the struggle against mosquitoes. The product, however effective it may be, is not the best solution as mosquitoes tend to become resistant.
Another attempt is infecting the insects with their own microbe, a bacterium which is called Wolbachia. It seems this bacteria may reduce mosquitoes’ lifespan and slow their reproductive process. Moreover, biotechnology is also considered a good solution in the fight against the insect. Pantoea agglomerans, a bacterium found in mosquitoes was genetically modified so as to interfere with the growing of the malaria parasite. No matter how slow and difficult the eradication seems to be it is clear that mosquitoes’ life is about to be ended.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia