Species complexes: confusion in identifying the true vectors of malaria and other parasites

Published on October 26, 2010   41 min

Other Talks in the Series: Vector-Borne Diseases

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This presentation will cover the topic of Species Complexes- Confusion in Identifying the True Vectors of Malaria and Other Parasites. My name is Susan Paskewitz. I'm a professor and medical entomologist in the Department of Entomology at the University of Wisconsin.
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Let's begin with a historical example that illustrates the problem. Malaria was an old scourge in Europe, with patterns of transmission that varied from constant incidence in hyperendemic areas to periodic outbreaks in epidemic zones.
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Following the momentous discovery in 1898 that Anopheles mosquitoes transmit malaria, Anopheles maculipennis was circumstantially incriminated as the most likely vector in Europe. This mosquito was originally described and named from specimens that had been collected in Germany around 1818. And for the next 100 years, it was believed that Anopheles maculipennis was the major Anophele mosquito in Europe, with a wide distribution through most countries.
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But one of the most serious criticisms of the theory that Anopheles transmitted malaria was that high densities of these mosquitoes were frequently reported in areas with no malaria transmission. This pattern was called anophelism without malaria. Equally curious was the disappearance of malaria from certain endemic areas of Europe without any effort to eradicate it, and despite high densities of Anopheles.
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Species complexes: confusion in identifying the true vectors of malaria and other parasites

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