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DNA barcoding of mosquito species deployed in bid to end elephantiasis
Date:4/29/2009

d-like worm spread between humans through a mosquito's bite. Living within a human's blood, the worm larvae grow into adults which mate and produce other larvae, called microfilariae. Symptoms often appear years after infection. The disease can permanently damage the lymph system and kidneys, which results in fluid collecting and swelling in the arms, breasts, legs, and, for men, the genital area. The disease also makes it difficult for the body to fight germs and infections.

Poor sanitation and rapid growth in tropical and subtropical areas has created more places for mosquitoes to breed and thus to more LF infection.

World health authorities have earmarked the disease for eradication by 2020 through mass drug administration (MDA). Officials are identifying communities where LF is endemic and treating people at risk with annual doses of a combination drug therapy (albendazole / DEC or albendazole / ivermectin, freely donated by Merck and Co. and GSK respectively).

The drug reduces the density of worm larvae in humans. This LF elimination strategy relies on a belief that the region's main LF vector, the Anopheles mosquito, is incapable of transmitting low-density worm larvae.

But the Anopheles family is highly diverse and contains hundreds of species. And the new molecular studies reveal that not all Anopheles species are created equal. Some can transmit the disease despite the drugs' thinning of the worm larvae.

The research is pointing out places infested with the menace species and, therefore, where the drug strategy needs to be supplemented with insecticides to successfully eliminate LF.

Prof. Boakye also notes that blanket vector control using insecticides can have serious impact on non-target organisms, leading to biodiversity loss. The additional information and insights into specific mosquito species allows for those species and areas to be targeted, reducing the level of spraying and its effect o
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Contact: Terry Collins
terrycollins@rogers.com
416-538-8712
JRS Biodiversity Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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