Malaria is among the deadliest of human diseases and also a major hindrance to economic development in tropical and subtropical regions. Efforts to combat this disease often focus on controlling vector populations and disrupting vector transmission. We are conducting research in a rodent malaria model, as well as with human populations in Africa, in order to understand how the malaria parasite influences host odors and the implications of such manipulation for the attraction of mosquito vectors to infected individuals.
By understanding the nature of malaria-induced changes in host odors we also hope to gain insight into the potential diagnostic value of volatile biomarkers for malaria and other infectious diseases.
De Moraes CM, NM Stanczyk, HS Betz, H Pulido, DG Sim, AF Read & MC Mescher (2014) Malaria-induced changes in host odors enhance mosquito attraction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111 (30): 11079-11084.