New mosquito species found to be preferred by malaria parasite

A new mosquito species of the subgroup Anopheles gambiae discovered in Burkina Faso in Africa has been found to be a preferred host by the parasite that is the leading cause of malaria in Africa.

The bug has recently encroached on human territory, showing up in ponds and puddles near villages for the last four months. The mosquitoes have been found most to be genetically distinct from any A. gambiae insects that were previously studied, Medical News Today reports.

"We are in a zone where we need to do some footwork in the field to identify a means to capture the wild adults of the outdoor-resting sub-group,” Dr. Ken Vernick, a member of a team from the Paris Pasteur Institute said, according to the BBC. “Then we can test them and measure their level of infection with malaria, and then we can put a number on how much, if any, of the actual malaria transmission this outdoor-resting subgroup is responsible for."

Mosquitoes may bite humans, which infects the humans with the parasite. The malaria parasite requires human and mosquito tissues to complete its life cycle. Once inside a human, malaria develops and multiplies. This can cause flu-like symptoms and destroy red blood cells, which may lead to death from severe anemia.

According to a report by the World Health Organization, there are over 200 million cases of malaria each year worldwide and hundreds of thousands of deaths. Most cases and deaths are in Africa.