BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Science/Nature  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Thursday, 16 September, 1999, 17:04 GMT 18:04 UK
Ugandan rice production brings malaria
By BBC Science's Corinne Podger

Changes in the way land is used in Uganda is spreading malaria to previously unaffected areas.

Festival of Science
The cause is the arrival of paddy-field rice production and the felling of forests to make way for farms. This has created new mosquito breeding grounds across the country.

Now, a team of biologists from the UK's Natural History Museum in London has begun a project with Ugandan scientists to find new methods of defeating malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

Malaria kills more than two million people a year and is caused by a parasite carried by some - but not all - mosquito species.

Uganda is the world's only country where the three main malaria-carrying species can be found. In recent years, the distribution of malaria has changed in Uganda.

Some areas of the country have been turned over to rice production, where the paddies provide a watery haven for mosquitoe larvae. As forest has been felled in other parts of Uganda to make way for farms, new human settlers with malaria have passed the parasite on to new mosquito populations.

Genetic database

The need to keep track of the effects of land use on the spread of malaria has led the Ugandan Virus Research Institute to join forces with the Natural History Museum.

Dr Yvonne Linton, a biologist at the Museum, said the two countries are now creating a genetic database of Uganda's mosquitoes. She was speaking at the British Association's Festival of Science in Sheffield, UK.

In the future, Ugandan health workers will be able to check mosquitoes from anywhere in the country against the database and know for sure if they can carry malaria.

Ultimately, said Dr Linton, this information could be built into programmes to breed mosquitoes that have been genetically-modified to make it harder for them to pass the malaria parasite on to humans.

Releasing swarms of GM mosquitoes into the wild where they could mate with local populations could ultimately help countries like Uganda bring malaria under control.

See also:

16 Feb 99 | Health
08 Sep 99 | Health
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Science/Nature stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Science/Nature stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes