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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Microbial communities on skin affect humans’ attractiveness to mosquitoes – could be basis for antimalarial research

العربية: الأنوفيلة الغامبية، نوع من البعوض الن...

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[Author’s note – I came down with malaria at least 3 timeswhile a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, West Africa (1980-81). Fortunately malaria was less virulent in West Africa than East Africa at the time. So, each bout was similar to a one day flu bug. Each time I came down with malaria, it was because I forgot to take the weekly preventive and came down with malaria two days later]

From the 29 December 2011 Eureka News Alert

The microbes on your skin determine how attractive you are to mosquitoes, which may have important implications for malaria transmission and prevention, according to a study published Dec. 28 in the online journal PLoS ONE.

Without bacteria, human sweat is odorless to the human nose, so the microbial communities on the skin play a key role in producing each individual’s specific body odor. The researchers, led by Niels Verhulst of Wageningen University in the Netherlands, conducted their experiments with the Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto mosquito, which plays an important role in malaria transmission. They found that individuals with a higher abundance but lower diversity of bacteria on their skin were more attractive to this particular mosquito. They speculate individuals with more diverse skin microbiota may host a selective group of bacteria that emits compounds to interfere with the normal attraction of mosquitoes to their human hosts, making these individuals less attractive, and therefore lower risk to contracting malaria. This finding may lead to the development of personalized methods for malaria prevention.


Citation: Verhulst NO, Qiu YT, Beijleveld H, Maliepaard C, Knights D, et al. (2011) Composition of Human Skin Microbiota Affects Attractiveness to Malaria Mosquitoes. PLoS ONE 6(12): e28991. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028991

Read the entire news release

December 30, 2011 Posted by | environmental health | , , , | Leave a comment


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