LivingMalaria comes from the gorilla

Malaria comes from the gorilla

gorilas-pillaThe parasite that causesmalaria or malaria, a disease that infects about 250 million people each year,originated in gorillas, according to a new international study published by the magazineNature.

Until recently, scientists thought that only man was a carrier of the parasitePlasmodium falciparum, the most common, the most virulent and the one that causes the most deaths of the five malaria parasites that are known in man. But in 2009 scientists realized that “certain species ofmonkeys, like chimpanzees, gorillas or bonobos, werecarriersof human-like types of parasites “, explains Eric Delaporte of the Research Institute for Development (IRD) in Marseille, France. Since previous work was based on the study of a limited number of primates, Scientists examined some 3,000 stool samples collected from 57 different locations in Central Africa.

Studies, started about ten years ago, when the search for the origin of the AIDS virus began, showed that this parasite does not infect bonobos and eastern gorillas. On the other hand, it is found in western gorillas (in countries like Cameroon or Gabon) and chimpanzees.

On the other hand, a DNA sequencing technique revealed that “several different types offalciparuminfected gorillas and that one of them was the ancestor of the gorilla typeP. Falciparumthat is found in man, “Delaporte pointed out. Consequently,” gorillas spread to men and not men to gorillas. “

In future work, researchers will try to find out when transmission took place and if the presence ofP. Falciparumin monkeys it is a risk, since if so, the carrier gorillas could infect humans at times when deforestation favors contact between the two. According to Martine Peeters of the IRD, the studies carried out so far tend to show that transmission of the malaria parasite occurred only once. However, further investigation will be necessary to verify that there were no other transmissions.


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