Northern Alaska mosquitoes transmitting malaria parasites | Alaska DispatchPosted: April 1, 2013
Because the malaria showed up in Alaska black-capped chickadees that don’t migrate, it proves that an Alaska mosquito was responsible for transmitting the tiny malaria parasite by sucking blood from an infected bird (probably a migrant) and pushing its infected proboscis into a local chickadee.
Sehgal’s collaborator, Anton Cornel from UC Davis, collected bags full of mosquitoes with a carbon-dioxide trap because the research team wants to find out which of Alaska’s mosquitoes is able to transfer the parasite.
“We still don’t know which mosquito is transmitting it,” Sehgal said.
The five types of parasites that cause malaria in humans don’t infect birds, and the dozens of varieties of avian malaria parasites don’t infect humans.