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    How are vector blood meals useful and what exactly do they do?
    Thanks.
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    Vectors are creatures, usually insects (mosquitoes, ticks, tsetse flies, etc) or worms (nematodes [flatworms] or helminths [roundworms]) that feed on the blood of mammals including man. They are called vectors cos they carry disease-causing micro-organisms (malaria parasite [Plamodium species e.g. P falciparum causing malignant tertian malaria or P malariae causing quartan malaria) carried by female Anopheles mosquitoes), Trypanosoma species [e.g. T japonicum, T cruzi) carried by tsetse fly [causing sleeping sickness = trypanosomiasis], Leishmania Species causing "kala azar", etc. from an infected patient to spread it to a previously uninfected person who then contracts the disease.

    They are ONLY useful to the insect or vector NOT to us (patients). We need to prevent or cure the disease by killing the vector e.g. by adding oil to puddles of water to block the breathing tubes of mosquito larvae thus killing them, or preventing bites using insect repellants or nets AND curing the disease with drugs like chloroquine (side effect: eye problems), mefloquine (side effect: psychiatic problems), paludrine, etc.

    I hope I am not barking up the wrong tree!
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    (Original post by macpatelgh)
    Vectors are creatures, usually insects (mosquitoes, ticks, tsetse flies, etc) or worms (nematodes [flatworms] or helminths [roundworms]) that feed on the blood of mammals including man. They are called vectors cos they carry disease-causing micro-organisms (malaria parasite [Plamodium species e.g. P falciparum causing malignant tertian malaria or P malariae causing quartan malaria) carried by female Anopheles mosquitoes), Trypanosoma species [e.g. T japonicum, T cruzi) carried by tsetse fly [causing sleeping sickness = trypanosomiasis], Leishmania Species causing "kala azar", etc. from an infected patient to spread it to a previously uninfected person who then contracts the disease.

    They are ONLY useful to the insect or vector NOT to us (patients). We need to prevent or cure the disease by killing the vector e.g. by adding oil to puddles of water to block the breathing tubes of mosquito larvae thus killing them, or preventing bites using insect repellants or nets AND curing the disease with drugs like chloroquine (side effect: eye problems), mefloquine (side effect: psychiatic problems), paludrine, etc.

    I hope I am not barking up the wrong tree!
    Could you expand on the bolded part please?
    Thanks for your reply.
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    Hi,

    Very interesting Q: From an empirical point of view, one could easily predict that blood, which obviously contains a wealth of nutrients and other chemicals (oxygen, hormones and antibodies, for instance - which is why the (unborn) human foetus survives (even thrives) purely from blood it derives from the (pregnant) mother via the complex and intricate placental vasculature), is a brilliant source of nutrients. This in itself is overwhelmingly useful to blood-feeding insects and other invertebrates.

    It is known that, the female Anopheles mosquito e.g. Anopheles gambiae (African mosquito) has an anautonomous feeding habit, meaning it needs blood in its diet for it to produce its egg, particularly the yolk. This is partly related to the need for certain hormones in the ovary in order for oogenesis (Egg production) to occur. One of these (OSBP - oxysterol binding protein) has been shown to be present in higher amounts in anautogenous mosquitoes E.g. Aedes egyptae (the vector for yellow fever transmission) compared to mainly autogenous mosquitoes e.g. Gc astropalpus.

    So, in brief, blood feeding mosquitoes can produce eggs and therefore perpetuate their species more easily.

    In addition, the digesive tract of mosquitoes has a mechanism for absorbing aromatic amino acids preferentially - whether the proteins in blood (particularly haemoglobin, albumin, AND alpha- [e. g. ceruloplasmin, which binds copper] beta- and gamma-globulins [immunoglobulins = antibodies e.g. IgG which is small enough to cross the placental barrier]) have a greater amount of the aromatic amino acids (e.g. phenylalanine or tyrosine), I do not know - sorry!

    As for other invertebrate blood feeders, I do not know much, but you can look it up.

    Hope this helps.

    M
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    (Original post by macpatelgh)
    Hi,

    Very interesting Q: From an empirical point of view, one could easily predict that blood, which obviously contains a wealth of nutrients and other chemicals (oxygen, hormones and antibodies, for instance - which is why the (unborn) human foetus survives (even thrives) purely from blood it derives from the (pregnant) mother via the complex and intricate placental vasculature), is a brilliant source of nutrients. This in itself is overwhelmingly useful to blood-feeding insects and other invertebrates.

    It is known that, the female Anopheles mosquito e.g. Anopheles gambiae (African mosquito) has an anautonomous feeding habit, meaning it needs blood in its diet for it to produce its egg, particularly the yolk. This is partly related to the need for certain hormones in the ovary in order for oogenesis (Egg production) to occur. One of these (OSBP - oxysterol binding protein) has been shown to be present in higher amounts in anautogenous mosquitoes E.g. Aedes egyptae (the vector for yellow fever transmission) compared to mainly autogenous mosquitoes e.g. Gc astropalpus.

    So, in brief, blood feeding mosquitoes can produce eggs and therefore perpetuate their species more easily.

    In addition, the digesive tract of mosquitoes has a mechanism for absorbing aromatic amino acids preferentially - whether the proteins in blood (particularly haemoglobin, albumin, AND alpha- [e. g. ceruloplasmin, which binds copper] beta- and gamma-globulins [immunoglobulins = antibodies e.g. IgG which is small enough to cross the placental barrier]) have a greater amount of the aromatic amino acids (e.g. phenylalanine or tyrosine), I do not know - sorry!

    As for other invertebrate blood feeders, I do not know much, but you can look it up.

    Hope this helps.

    M
    I appreciate the detailed response. Thanks!
 
 
 
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