Malaria

Many white-tailed deer have malaria: Researchers discover first-ever native malaria in the Americas, Phys.org, Feb 5, 2016Martinsen and her colleagues estimate that the parasite infects up to twenty-five percent of white-tailed deer along the East Coast of the United States. Though Martinsen and Schall are quick to note that they anticipate little danger to people from this newly discovered deer malaria, it does underline the fact that many human health concerns are connected to wider ecological systems—and that understanding the biology of other species is a foundation to both conservation and public health management.

One in Four U.S. Deer Is Infected With Malaria, Smithsonian.com, Feb 5, 2016Scientists suspect the undetected blood parasite has been present in the animals ever since they arrived across the Bering Land Bridge.

All forms of malaria depend on two hosts to complete their life cycle; a flying insect and a vertebrate animal.

White-tailed deer have their own form of malaria, Science News, Feb 5, 2016The malaria parasite in deer is a completely different species from the ones that cause disease in humans. A report in 1967 based on one deer in Texas had claimed that the parasite existed and a 1980 paper had named it Plasmodium odocoilei.

Malaria parasites found in white-tailed deer, Mother Nature News, Feb 5, 2016The team screened 308 white-tails from 45 counties in 17 U.S. states, and found infected deer at more than a third of the sites. “Overall prevalence at the Plasmodium-positive sites was 18%” in white-tails, they report, “but reached approximately 25% at sites in Virginia and West Virginia.”

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