James Gathany, Frank Collins
This photograph depicts a Anopheles funestus mosquito partaking in a blood meal from its human host. Note the blood passing through the proboscis, which has penetrated the skin, and entered a miniscule cutaneous blood vessel.
The Anopheles funestus mosquito, which along with Anopheles gambiae, is one of the two most important malaria vectors in Africa, where more than 80% of the world’s malarial disease and deaths occurs. Humans infected with malaria parasites can develop a wide range of symptoms. These vary from asymptomatic infections, i.e., no apparent illness, to the classic symptoms of malaria including fever, chills, sweating, headaches, muscle pains, to severe complications such as cerebral malaria, anemia, and kidney failure, and even death. The severity of the symptoms depends on several factors, including the species of infecting parasite, and the infected human?s acquired immunity and genetic background.