Medical institute studies mosquitos for transmission of malaria, elephantiasis

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BEING locked in a room filled with mosquitos sounds worrying but laboratory technicians from the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research (PNGIMR) looked forward to it.
Situated inside an isolated room in Yagaum outside Madang where the PNGIMR base has piles of containers with different species of mosquitos collected by the institute’s field officers.
Laboratory technician Hega Sakel is a specialist who does the worrying job of separating females from male mosquitos.
It’s a difficult task for anyone to identify the sex of the mosquitos but for Sakel it’s a flick of a finger because she knows what she is doing.
Male mosquitos have moustache and females do not.
Sakel collects the female mosquitos which are then fed with parasite-infected blood samples. Those mosquitoes were fed with different blood samples to see if parasites in them developed inside the mosquitos.
Senior scientific officer Rebecca Vinit said the mosquitoes would then be dissected and blood samples recorded and used for further studies.
The study on mosquitos were for transmission of malaria or filariasis parasites.
Filariasis is also known as elephantiasis which cause swollen limbs.
Vinit said Anopheles mosquitos transmitted malaria and filariasis.
She said different environments had different species of Anopheles mosquitos.
Places along river banks like in East Sepik and Ramu in Madang had many mosquitos and among them they had their own species of Anopheles mosquitos.