Newly-discovered mosquito species poses greater malaria threat
Scientists have discovered a seemingly new breed of mosquitoes in Africa that have the potential to cause hundreds of thousands more deaths from malaria.
According to charities, the previously unknown parasite could pose a serious setback to the global fight against the disease - one of the world's biggest killers.
Researchers said the discovery is worrying because the insect does not behave like normal mosquitoes.
As opposed to the female anopheles, the main cause of malaria, the new type of mosquito does not wait until night-time and bites while people are outdoors in the early evening.
Even more worrying for the scientists is that they are as yet unable to match the DNA of the new species to any existing mosquito variety.
"We observed that many mosquitoes we caught - including those infected with malaria - did not physically resemble other known malaria mosquitoes," the Independent quoted Jennifer Stevenson from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as saying.
"Analysis indicated that their DNA differed from sequences available for known malaria-transmitting mosquitoes in Africa," Stevenson said.
Researchers are also worried that the feeding daytime pattern of the new tropical bug posed a serious challenge to controlling the disease.
The researchers found the species in a village in the highlands of western Kenya where they set up outdoor and indoor traps.
"The main difference that came through from this study is that we caught 70 percent of these species A - which is what we named them because we don't know exactly what they are - outdoors before 10.30pm, which is the time when people in the village usually go indoors," she added.