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Medical News & Perspectives
January 11, 2006

Malaria Susceptibility Heightened for Some

JAMA. 2006;295(2):150. doi:10.1001/jama.295.2.150

Some individuals are more susceptible than others to malaria, with just 20% accounting for 80% of all infections, suggest new findings from an analysis of a large published data set of malaria measurements from countries throughout Africa. The implications of the work are that more targeted control measures could lead to more effect management of malaria across the globe (Smith DL et al. Nature. 2005;438:492-495).

Some individuals are more attractive to mosquitoes due to such factors as components in their breath and sweat that are not well understood. “Some people just get bitten a lot more than others,” said lead author David Smith, PhD, of the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, Md. “We showed that this was an important factor for determining the relationship between the rate at which people are bitten on average in a population and the fraction of people who are infected with malaria.”