Blame skin microbes for mosquito bites

December 29th, 2011 - 12:09 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 29 (IANS) Blame skin microbes for mosquito bites that pester you and also transmit the malaria parasite.

These microbes play a key role in producing individual body odours which attract these insects. This finding opens the way to develop personalised methods for malaria prevention.

The researchers, led by Niels Verhulst of Wageningen University in the Netherlands, conducted their experiments with the Anopheles mosquito, which plays an important role in malaria transmission, the journal Public library of Science ONE reports.

They found that people with a higher abundance but lower diversity of bacteria on their skin were more attractive to this particular mosquito, according to a university statement.

The speculation is that individuals with more diverse skin microbiota may be instrumental in making them less attractive to these pesky insects, and therefore lower risk to contracting malaria.

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