Malaria identified in wild bonobos for the first time

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Malaria parasites are widespread among chimpanzees and gorillas, but for the first time, they've been detected in wild bonobos, a chimp cousin.

Mosquito detection with low-cost smartphones: data acquisition for malaria research Machine Learning

Mosquitoes are a major vector for malaria, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths in the developing world each year. Not only is the prevention of mosquito bites of paramount importance to the reduction of malaria transmission cases, but understanding in more forensic detail the interplay between malaria, mosquito vectors, vegetation, standing water and human populations is crucial to the deployment of more effective interventions. Typically the presence and detection of malaria-vectoring mosquitoes is only quantified by hand-operated insect traps or signified by the diagnosis of malaria. If we are to gather timely, large-scale data to improve this situation, we need to automate the process of mosquito detection and classification as much as possible. In this paper, we present a candidate mobile sensing system that acts as both a portable early warning device and an automatic acoustic data acquisition pipeline to help fuel scientific inquiry and policy. The machine learning algorithm that powers the mobile system achieves excellent off-line multi-species detection performance while remaining computationally efficient. Further, we have conducted preliminary live mosquito detection tests using low-cost mobile phones and achieved promising results. The deployment of this system for field usage in Southeast Asia and Africa is planned in the near future. In order to accelerate processing of field recordings and labelling of collected data, we employ a citizen science platform in conjunction with automated methods, the former implemented using the Zooniverse platform, allowing crowdsourcing on a grand scale.

Toward a chemical vaccine for malaria


Despite considerable progress in combating malaria, it remains one of the world's most important infectious diseases, with 50% of the world population at risk of developing the disease and a mortality rate of 0.5 million annually (1). The lack of an effective vaccine and the relentless ability of the Plasmodium parasite responsible for malaria to develop drug resistance has contributed to the continuing disease burden (2–4). Artemisinin-combination therapies (ACTs) are the mainstay of current treatment regimens, but decreased effectiveness, particularly in Southeast Asia, threatens our ability to control this disease. A global effort to develop new drugs for the treatment and prevention of malaria is under way but not guaranteed to succeed (3, 5, 6). These efforts include a systematic attempt to target all life-cycle stages of the parasite to allow combination therapies to be developed, which are also likely to reduce the development of resistance.

Malaria parasite makes mosquitoes more likely to suck your blood

New Scientist

Mosquitoes seem to fancy human blood when they're carrying malaria, in an apparent case of parasites directing their hosts' behaviour. Nature abounds with stories of parasites manipulating the organisms they live in to suit their own ends. There are eye flukes that make fish swim close to the surface so they'll get caught by birds. There are wasp larvae that live inside other wasps and turn them into zombies. And there's the notorious Toxoplasma parasite that makes rodents fearless so they get eaten by cats – and may also steer humans towards risky behaviour.

Forget mosquito repellent! Sleeping next to a CHICKEN will keep the blood-sucking insects at bay

Daily Mail - Science & tech

If you're tired of slathering yourself with smelly chemical mosquito repellent and want a more natural way to avoid being bitten, sleeping next to a live chicken might help. Scientists have found that the smell of fowl sends the blood-sucking bugs packing. And while the method may sound bizarre, it could save the lives some of the 3.2 billion people at risk of malaria, for example. Scientists have found that the smell of fowl (stock image)sends the blood-sucking bugs packing. And while sleeping next to a chicken may sound bizarre, it could save the lives some of the 3.2 billion people at risk of malaria, for example To test the theory, volunteers slept in beds surrounded by mosquito nets.