What Waterford, VA Residents May Not Know About ‘Blood Sacrifice’ In Mosquito Research
According to the WHO, mosquitoes are the greatest menace among all disease vectors. This is because millions of people die every year from mosquito-borne pathogens. It’s also why so much money and effort goes into studying mosquitoes. The hope is to find out how they work and develop ways of eliminating or rendering them harmless.
You’d be right to expect that the sacrifices that researchers need to make involve their time and energy. But do you know that some of them also avail their own blood to feed the mosquitoes in their labs?
Turn off the lights. Put your arms or legs on top of a cage holding hundreds of mosquitoes. Listen to news or call your mom while the critters chow down on your blood.
This was researcher Sam Rund’s routine when he used a colony of Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes, a species known for infecting humans with malaria, for research on disease transmission. A staff scientist at the University of Notre Dame, Rund studies how factors such as circadian rhythms and light affect the feeding habits of different mosquito species, which is important for understanding how they spread pathogens to humans. Read more at The Washington Post…
Having mosquitoes feed on you in return for the ability to study them is obviously not ideal. In fact, these scientists require special approvals from ethics boards in order to do this. It’s also worth noting that these particular mosquitoes are not infected with a disease. So the scientists are not in any danger of mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria, dengue, chikungunya among others.
It would certainly be better to find alternative means to feed the mosquitoes being studied. Unfortunately, some mosquitoes tend to be picky about what they eat. They don’t easily fall for a container covered with a membrane that is meant to mimic human skin. Fortunately, a different set of scientists have recently experienced some success doing this:
The team tested biteOscope with four medically important species of mosquito and built a computer model to analyse behaviours from images captured of the mosquitoes as they landed on the ‘skin’. “We found that the time a mosquito spends exploring skin that does not lead to a successful feed is rarely longer than the duration of a successful feed,” says author Louis Lambrechts, Research Director at the Department of Virology, Institut Pasteur. “This suggests that if blood is not found within a certain time, the mosquitoes give up and move on.” Read more at News-Medical…
The biteOscope comes with a surface that mimics human skin and uses an artificial blood meal. This eliminates the need for using human subjects as bait. Additionally, it’s a mobile device that can fit snugly into a backpack. This allows scientists to use it both in the lab and in natural environments.
The good news here is that progress is being made as far as improving mosquito control is concerned. We certainly have much to look forward to. In the meantime, mosquitoes are still a problem that we need to deal with on a regular basis in Waterford, VA. Fortunately, existing mosquito control measures, despite their imperfections, are helpful in keeping us safe:
…Myra had this to say, “I hate mosquitoes. They cause illness and horrible unbearable skin reactions to our entire family. Backyard patrol is an Awesome company with a great product.
We used a different company in the past and switched because we still experienced breakthrough mosquitoes. I couldn’t stand paying for a spray service while still acting as a meal to these nasty bugs. We hired Backyard Patrol and were able to enjoy the backyard over the summer without getting decimated by mosquitoes & ticks. Not sure what formula they use but it works well. A Very reliable service. Emails communications are fantastic! Customer service is awesome, very responsive. After rain, there were breakthrough events but not bad at all and they would show up right after to spray us down. I believe the key is regular and early initiation of service to combat the problem. Read more at Street Insider…
For safe and effective mosquito control services in Loudoun County, look no further than Backyard Bug Patrol. Call us today and let us make your home mosquito-free and your family safe, just like we did for Myra.