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Why Do Insect Vectors Not Get Ill from the Microbes They Transmit? Some Evidence from Malaria-carrying Mosquitos

By Kevin E. Noonan — There are an estimated 219 million cases of malaria per year, leading to more than 400,000 deaths annually according to the World Health Organization. Hemocytes (insect white blood cells) comprise the mosquito immune system and are the basis for immunity to malaria. There are three known hemocyte types: granulocytes (highly phagocytic cells of about 10 to 20 μm in diameter); oenocytoids (8- to 12-μm round cells that produce melanin involved in pathogen encapsulation); and prohemocytes (round cells (4 to 6 μm) with a high nuclear-to-cytoplasmic ratio and are thought to be precursors of the other…

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