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Gametocytemia and Attractiveness of Plasmodium falciparum-Infected Kenyan Children to Anopheles gambiae Mosquitoes.

J Infect Dis; 216(3): 291-295, 2017 Aug 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28859429
It has been suggested that Plasmodia manipulate their vertebrate hosts to enhance parasite transmission. Using a dual-choice olfactometer, we investigated the attraction of Anopheles gambiae to 50 Kenyan children (aged 5-12 years) who were naturally infected with Plasmodium falciparum or noninfected controls. Microscopic gametocyte carriers attracted almost 2 times more mosquitoes than children who were parasite free, harbored asexual stages, or had gametocytes at submicroscopic densities. By using highly sensitive stage-specific molecular methods to detect P. falciparum, we show that gametocytes-and not their noninfectious asexual progenitors-induce increased attractiveness of humans to mosquitoes. Our findings therefore support the parasite host manipulation hypothesis.