Tuesday October 23, 2018

Malaria-carrying Mosquitoes becoming Resistant to Insecticide used in Bed Nets in Southern Africa

A recent study has shown Malaria-carrying mosquitoes are gradually becoming resistant to the insectisides in bed-nets

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FILE - An Afghan girl sleeps beneath a mosquito net at her home in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 21, 2016. VOA
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Malaria-carrying mosquitoes are becoming resistant to the insecticide used in bed nets to prevent the disease. Researchers say it is important to stay ahead of the resistance to avoid what they are calling a public health catastrophe.

Bed nets treated with inexpensive pyrethroid insecticides are the main defense against biting, malaria-carrying mosquitoes, and they have significantly cut down on the number of cases. The World Health Organization reports malaria infected an estimated 212 million people in 2015, killing some 429,000 of them.

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That reflects a 21 percent drop in the incidence of between 2010 and 2015.

But a new study, published in the journal PLoS Genetics, found that the primary mosquito that harbors the parasite in southern Africa, Anopheles funestus, is rapidly becoming resistant to the insecticide. In at least one country, Mozambique, researchers discovered that 100 percent of A. funestus remained alive after direct exposure to the chemical.

Charles Wondji, a mosquito geneticist at the School of Tropical Medicine in Liverpool, England, notes that resistance to pyrethroid insecticides occurred rapidly, in about eight years.

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Resistant gene identified

Wondji said scientists were able to identify the resistance gene in the mosquito. Speaking with VOA from Cameroon, he said that will give scientists an important tool to monitor the spread of insect resistance throughout the continent.

“That form of the gene is now very prevalent in southern Africa with the risk that if we do nothing there’s a chance that those control measures won’t work against those type of mosquitoes,” he said.

By having identified the responsible gene, Wondji said it will be possible to stay ahead of what he calls the “resistance curve” in places where insecticides are starting to fail to kill the mosquitoes. He added other more expensive insecticides can then be deployed to treat the bed nets. He mentioned a compound called PDO that targets the gene, killing the mosquitoes.

Wondji said control efforts, such as eliminating mosquito larvae that inhabit standing pools of water, can also be redoubled.

Wondji noted other species of malaria-carrying mosquitoes, like Anopheles gambiae, are starting to become resistant to pyrethriods, although that is occurring through a different biological mechanism.

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More studies needed

Therefore, Wondji, said it’s important to study all species of malaria-carrying mosquitoes in order to implement appropriate and successful malaria management strategies.

In another just-released study in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases, scientists in Thailand have found widespread malaria parasite resistance to artemisinin and combination therapies using artemisinin, considered the gold standard treatment.

They say the development threatens global malaria control and eradication efforts. (VOA)

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USA: Everything you want to know about Security Clearance; Find out here!

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas.

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Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA
Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan. We take a look at what that means.

What is a security clearance?

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas after completion of a background check. The clearance by itself does not guarantee unlimited access. The agency seeking the clearance must determine what specific area of information the person needs to access.

What are the different levels of security clearance?

There are three levels: Confidential, secret and top secret. Security clearances don’t expire. But, top secret clearances are reinvestigated every five years, secret clearances every 10 years and confidential clearances every 15 years.

All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA
All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA

Who has security clearances?

According to a Government Accountability Office report released last year, about 4.2 million people had a security clearance as of 2015, they included military personnel, civil servants, and government contractors.

Why does one need a security clearance in retirement?

Retired senior intelligence officials and military officers need their security clearances in case they are called to consult on sensitive issues.

Also Read: Governments Across The World Request Apple for 30,000 Device Information

Can the president revoke a security clearance?

Apparently. But there is no precedent for a president revoking someone’s security clearance. A security clearance is usually revoked by the agency that sought it for an employee or contractor. All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance, which can include criminal acts, lack of allegiance to the United States, behavior or situation that could compromise an individual and security violations. (VOA)