Manipulation of anopheles mosquitoes and human odors by Plasmodium parasites
LE3 .A278 2021
Bachelor of Science
Phenotypes are the characteristics of organisms. Parasites may manipulate host phenotype in many symbioses; the best known examples are of manipulation of host behavior and to a lesser extent, host appearance. Understanding manipulation is important for disease management. Plasmodium spp. parasites cause malaria, which is spread when transmissible stages inside a vertebrate are ingested by a mosquito taking a blood meal. Inside the mosquito, Plasmodium develops for several days before being injected into a vertebrate host during a blood meal. I reviewed the literature around the idea that malaria-infected mosquitoes have increased attraction to human hosts when the parasite is transmissible, and decreased attraction when non-transmissible. Chemical emissions released from the breath and skin of humans during infection were quantified to identify attractants. Results indicate possible malaria manipulation of emission levels to increase mosquito attraction. Though preliminary evidence is mounting that infection causes increased mosquito attraction to human hosts, differences in malaria species studied, mosquito species studied, stage of infection tested, age of human participants in trials, and experimental procedures make interpretation of findings complicated.
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