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January 23, 2006

Malaria develops in the immune system

Topics: Health Issues

New research by scientists in the UK has shown how malaria develops in people who have been bitten by mosquitoes. This new research indicates that the parasites are injected at the site of the skin, that they travel into the lymph nodes where they are attacked and most of them die, but some of the parasites manage to find their way into the liver, and thereby causing malaria.

This discovery could be useful in combatting not just malaria, but some forms of arthritis, such as Ross River virus, that are linked to mosquito bites.

When someone is bitten by a mosquito, the site of the bite becomes very itchy. When the itch is relieved by scratching, the site itself begins to swell; sometimes the swelling can become very large before the itch and the swelling disappear. However, 9 times out of 10, a person who is bitten will scratch the site until it bleeds, which brings about enormous relief from the itching.

In other words, the mosquito bite induces inflammation, and the appropriate immune responses within the body. When a healthy person has been bitten by the malaria carrying mosquito, the immune system immediately begins to attack the parasites that have been injected into the skin. However, for someone whose immune system is compromised, the chances of developing malaria are greatly increased.

Perhaps this research will help to increase our understanding as to why some people develop different forms of arthritis, especially an arthritis that is a response to being bitten by mosquitoes.

In the future, we may discover other possible relationships between immune disease and insect vectors, such as with diseases like chronic fatigue syndrome and some types of arthritis from non malarial carrying mosquitoes.

Posted by at January 23, 2006 2:02 AM

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