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Blog In New Science

Fungus fights malaria

By Tim Sandle
Posted Jun 21, 2012 in Science
The fungus Beauveria bassiana effectively kills Aedes aegypti, the mosquito responsible for carrying dengue, and sharply reduces the rate at which mosquitoes seek human targets, according to a study published recently in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. The results offer a potential alternative to pesticides to control the mosquito-borne viral disease.
Dengue is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes that infects between 50 and 100 million people annually, according to the World Health Organization. Current control mechanisms rely heavily on insecticides, but recent reports of mosquitoes acquiring insecticide-resistance in Mexico have raised concerns about the effective management of the disease.
Scientists have been experimenting with the fungus B. bassiana in hopes of identifying a new way to control dengue spread. The fungus, which grows naturally in soil and is an insect parasite, is currently used to control a number of agricultural pests, and recent studies have shown it may also kill dengue-carrying mosquitoes. But so far, there has only been one field study of the fungus on dengue-carrying mosquitoes, so questions remain about its effectiveness in the wild where temperature and humidity variations may affect mosquito survival.
To read more, visit the TMJsite.

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