It seems we are not alone in finding it difficult to have cultures taken to find out what ails us. We know that mosquitoes are a common disease vector for some rather nasty viral illnesses, such as malaria and dengue fever. Until reading this article by Craig Williams, Associate professor in Biology and Emily Johnston Flies, PhD student in Disease Ecology, both at University of South Australia, I hadn't appreciated how difficult it was to actually determine the level of virus circulation there was in mosquito populations. The authors go on to describe a new technique for collecting mosquito saliva from the field that has made monitoring mosquitoes both more sensitive and inexpensive:
So the next time you are suffering from some chronic infection that despite a range of antibiotic scripts, your doctor hasn't been able to help you overcome, be thankful that at least you aren't ground up to check what viruses you may be harbouring .
Photo: Bees at the entrance to their natural beehive in a hollow eucalyptus tree. Somehow I think extracting the honey from this hive to entice mosquitoes to provide a saliva swab will be a bit more difficult than from the usual source...