The mosquito genus Anopheles contains about 460 recognized species, many of which have serious impacts on human health, as they serve as vectors for transmitting malaria and other disease pathogens, including canine heartworm Dirofilaria immitis, the Filariidae Wuchereria bancrofti and Brugia malayi, and viruses such as one that causes O'nyong'nyong fever. Female mosquitos usually require a blood meal for the development of eggs but will also feed on sugar sources for energy. Males only feed on nectar and sugar sources. One important behavioral factor in transmission of malaria is the degree to which an Anopheles species prefers to feed on humans (anthropophily) or animals such as cattle (zoophily). Anthropophilic Anopheles such A. gambiae and A. funestus, (the primary malaria vectors in Africa) are the most likely to transmit malaria vectors among people. The mosquito must also live long enough to incubate the malaria parasite long enough for it to develop its infectiousness (usually 10-21 days). Although malaria is nowadays limited to tropical areas, and especially sub-Saharan Africa, many Anopheles species live in colder latitudes. The CDC warns that it is possible to re-introduce malaria into areas where it has been eliminated (Europe, North America, the Caribbean and parts of Asia and southern Central America). In 2007 the Gates foundation reignited the strategy of world-wide malaria eradication, among the important organizations involved in controlling this disease. Understanding the biology and behavior of Anopheles mosquitoes is crucial in understanding how malaria is transmitted and will aid in designing appropriate control strategies. ( Wikipedia 2011)
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