Multiple Mosquito Blood Meals Accelerate Malaria Transmission
Published:04 Jan.2021    Source:PLOS

Multiple bouts of blood feeding by mosquitoes shorten the incubation period for malaria parasites and increase malaria transmission potential, according to a study published December 31 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Lauren Childs of Virginia Tech, Flaminia Catteruccia of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and colleagues. Given that mosquitoes feed on blood multiple times in natural settings, the results suggest that malaria elimination may be substantially more challenging than suggested by previous experiments, which typically involve a single blood meal.

Malaria remains a devastating disease for tropical and subtropical regions, accounting for an estimated 405,000 deaths and 228 million cases in 2018. In natural settings, the female Anopheles gambiae mosquito -- the major malaria vector -- feeds on blood multiple times in her lifespan. Such complex behavior is regularly overlooked when mosquitoes are experimentally infected with malaria parasites, limiting our ability to accurately describe potential effects on transmission. In the new study, the researchers examine how additional blood feeding affects the development and transmission potential of Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites in An. gambiae females.