Mosquito Gut Bacteria affects Malaria spread

mosquito gut bacteria

Just like we have gut bacteria in our gut so does mosquitoes. Researchers have discovered that a type of mosquito gut bacteria affects how often it spreads a disease and the length of their life.

Recent research about the human gut bacteria have proven that the bacteria is a part of many functions in the human body. Bacteria also affect the lives of a range of smaller animals . Mosquito gut bacteria impact the insects life cycle and might affect to what degree they carry dangerous pathogens. In fact a type of mosquito gut bacteria might help improve people’s lives. This is the topic of research from Johns Hopkins University published in PLOS.

Preventing Malaria and Dengue Fever by changing Mosquito Gut Bacteria

Researchers found a type of bacteria, chromobacterium sp.(Csp), in the mosquito Aedes aegypti that spreads dengue fever. Researchers studied how these bacteria affects life cycle and disease spread in the insects.

Researchers fed sugared water containing CSp. to two species of mosquitoes that spread malaria and dengue fever. Mosquitoes drinking the bacteria water also added it to it’s gut bacteria. This colonization resulted in a reduced risk that the malaria parasite or the dengue fever virus  would enter the mosquitoes. Mosquitoes exposed to the bacteria, even without it remaining in the gut, also shortened the life of both the mosquitoes and its larvae. Making it even less likely it could spread the diseases to people.

Researchers also found that the bacteria itself had a direct effect on the pathogens causing both diseases. Toxic metabolites created by the bacteria hampered the growth rate of the malaria parasite and reduced dengue virus ability to infect.

These findings on the CSp. mosquito gut bacteria is promising in prevention of the spread of malaria and dengue fever. Making the mosquitoes live shorter lives also reduces the risk they will become carriers in their lifetime.

Image credit: Marcos Teixeira de Freitas via, CC BY-NC 2.0