Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mosquitoes like some people better than others

Research shows that genetics accounts for 85 percent of a person’s susceptibility to being bitten by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes like some people better than others

It’s a late summer afternoon and you’re out on the patio having a glass of wine with friends. As the sun begins to set, you start to think about what’s for dinner.
Surprise! It’s you.

That’s right. You’ve suddenly become irresistible to a female mosquito who wants to join the party by sipping your blood. Why are you — rather than your pals — so much more pleasing to her palate?
“There’s no definitive answer. We really don’t know,” said Joe Conlon, the Jacksonville, Fla.-based technical adviser to the American Mosquito Control Association. “There’s a tremendous amount of research going on as to why some people are more attractive to mosquitoes than others. But we’ve only begun to scratch the surface.”

While researchers can’t pinpoint why mosquitoes choose one human entree over another, they do know these blood sucking insects are influenced by what they see and smell.
Unfortunately, mosquitoes can target you from more than 100 feet away. And if they find you yummy, your kids will probably be tasty treats as well.

“A lot of it is heredity,” said Dr. Ken Haller, associate professor of pediatrics at St. Louis University. “When parents bring their kids in, I ask the parents if they get bitten by mosquitoes.”
He said research shows that genetics account for 85 percent of a person’s susceptibility to being bitten.

Among other things researchers know is that mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide that humans exhale. The more carbon dioxide you put out, the more they like you. That might explain part of the reason why adults tend to get bitten more often than children, Conlon said.
They’ve also found that mosquitoes enjoy lactic acid and cholesterol on the skin.

“Mosquitoes are also attracted to disgusting smells,” said Conlon. “They like Limburger cheese, dirty socks and smelly feet, but try telling a teenager that.”
In addition to smell, movement is a mosquito magnet.
“Fidgety people get bitten more,” Conlon said.

If all things are equal, the active person will probably get bitten first, agreed Haller. For example, if there are twins and one is playing volleyball and the other is resting in a hammock, the volleyball player will most likely be bitten.

So if you’re doing anything athletic and breathing heavily, you’re especially attractive to mosquitoes because of the amount of carbon dioxide and lactic acid you’re emitting. Mosquitoes also like the chemicals in perspiration and the increased humidity it creates around your body. And of course there’s the movement.

If you do get stung, Haller said, he’s found a unique treatment for those itchy swellings: antiperspirants, particularly roll-on and pushup gels rather than sticks. Plain deodorants won’t work.
“The aluminum salts in the antiperspirant help the body to reabsorb the fluid in the bug bite,” he said. “The swelling goes down and the itching goes away.” Read the complete original article here

more about mosquitos

Mosquitoes have mouthparts which are adapted for piercing the skin of plants and animals. They typically feed on nectar and plant juices. In some species, the female needs to obtain nutrients from a "blood meal" before she can produce eggs.

There are about 3,500 species of mosquitoes found throughout the world. In some species of mosquito, the females feed on humans, and are therefore vectors for a number of infectious diseases affecting millions of people per year

Mosquitoes are crepuscular (dawn or dusk) feeders. During the heat of the day most mosquitoes rest in a cool place and wait for the evenings. They may still bite if disturbed. Mosquitoes are adept at infiltration and have been known to find their way into residences via deactivated air conditioning units.

Prior to and during blood feeding, they inject saliva into the bodies of their source(s) of blood. This saliva serves as an anticoagulant: without it, the female mosquito's proboscis would quickly become clogged with blood clots. Female mosquitoes hunt their blood host by detecting carbon dioxide (CO2) and 1-octen-3-ol from a distance.

Mosquitoes are a vector agent that carries disease-causing viruses and parasites from person to person without catching the disease themselves.

Anopheles albimanus mosquito feeding on a human arm. This mosquito is a vector of malaria and mosquito control is a very effective way of reducing the incidence of malaria.

The principal mosquito borne diseases are the viral diseases yellow fever and dengue fever, transmitted mostly by the Aedes aegypti, and malaria carried by the genus Anopheles. Though originally a public health concern, HIV is now thought to be almost impossible for mosquitoes to transmit

Mosquitoes are estimated to transmit disease to more than 700 million people annually in Africa, South America, Central America, Mexico and much of Asia with millions of resulting deaths. At least 2 million people annually die of these diseases.

Methods used to prevent the spread of disease, or to protect individuals in areas where disease is endemic include Vector control aimed at mosquito eradication, disease prevention, using prophylactic drugs and developing vaccines and prevention of mosquito bites, with insecticides, nets and repellents. Since most such diseases are carried by "elderly" females, scientists have suggested focusing on these to avoid the evolution of resistance.
read the complete original article on mosquitos here

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