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Saturday, October 22, 2016

VAMPIRES ARE REAL

I hate vampire movies and don't go to them.  I did enjoy Love At First Bite with George Hamilton, but that was in 1979, and much earlier was into Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula, but I grew up and matured.  
Of course there is no such thing as a vampire, but, apparently, while maybe only an urban legend, there could well be a kind of  bear known as the chupacabra, said to suck the blood of goats.  Looks like a wolf to me.

Okay, so much for speculation.  National Geographic had a nice, short article on this topic.  The vampires cited are all female, and they fly.  They're better known as mosquitos.    Interesting that most of the famous movie/TV vampires are male, but above are a few of the other gender.

Actually, it's not really the mosquito at fault.  It is the transmitted virus that is the problem, although malaria is uniquely caused by neither a virus nor bacterium, but a single-cell parasite known as a protozoan:


Mosquitos are not born with these micro-critters in them.  Both male and female subsist on plant sap.  However, genetics inform females that to produce eggs, they need to suck blood.  They feed into a human, and if it has this microbe, this contaminated blood is injected into the next victim.  Imagine the evolution of these microorganisms, having to be sipped into a mosquito's gut, exposed to digestive enzymes, surviving, then pushed through a membrane into the salivary gland, before being injected into another warm body.  What a life!  A regular reader will note that just last week I empathized with the life of a cockroach.  Now I admire the life cycle of a microbe.

In short, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus carry viruses for Zika, Chinkungunya, Yellow Fever and Dengue Fever, while Malaria is the fault of the Anopheles (left) specie.  I myself have totally lucked out, for I somehow escaped contracting Malaria in Papua New Guinea, Dengue in Thailand (when I went to visit a sugar cane factory, even though warned not to go), Chikungunya in Le Reunion and Yellow Fever in Tanzania.

As global climate change occurs, the USA will more and more become an ideal habitat for mosquitos:


If you live in a blue area, your exposure to mosquitos will drop by as much as 100% in 2050.  However, in the U.S. and Europe, plus Japan and Australia, mosquito presence could well increase by 100%.

Earlier this year I posted on HOW DANGEROUS ARE MOSQUITOS.  


Mosquitos, or the equivalent of VAMPIRES, are the deadliest animal on Planet Earth, killing a lot more humans than humans.  In July I wrote about CRISPR, a genetic engineering technology that shows promise for wiping out all mosquitos.  But should we do this?  Maybe these vampires are an integral part of humanity.

Tomorrow, I'm off for Seoul.  Join me for my two-week visit to the Orient.

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