According to the World Health Organization, malaria was responsible for 781,000 deaths worldwide in 2009.
Malaria is spread by mosquitoes which breed in open water and spend much of their larval stage feeding on fungi and microorganisms at the water surface. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Parasites and Vectors presents a method of dispersing pathogenic fungi as a means of preventing the spread of malaria.
The parasite (genus Plasmodium), which causes malaria, is transmitted to humans with mosquito saliva during a bite, where it invades the liver and red blood cells causing fever. Once infected, it can be difficult for a human host to recover because some species of Plasmodium are able to lie dormant and evade antimalarial drugs. These parasites are also becoming resistant to the antimalarials taken to prevent infection. An alternative way of reducing the risk of malaria infection is to kill the mosquitoes. The fungi, M. anisopliae and B. bassiana, cause muscardine disease in mosquito larvae, leading to their death before they can pupate and develop into the adult form.
Speaking about the research Tullu Bukhari said, "these fungi provide an effective means of controlling malaria mosquitoes. Both spores and the oil have minimal risk to fish and aquatic organisms and so are also environmentally safe."