Researchers say flicking osquitoes may prevent infection

Monday, July 19th 2004, 9:28 am
By: News On 6

(Toledo, Ohio-AP) -- Researchers say that flicking away pesky mosquitoes may be better than swatting the bloodsucking insects. They say swatting the pets can increase risk of infections if their body parts are smashed into human skin.

The issue is reviewed in an article published this month in the New England Journal of Medicine. The article focuses on a 57-year-old Pennsylvania woman who died in 2002 of a fungal infection in her muscles called Brachiola algerae.

Doctors were puzzled because the fungus was thought to be found only in mosquitoes -- which are found throughout Florida -- and other insects. But it's not found in mosquito saliva like West Nile virus and malaria, so a simple mosquito bite could not have caused the infection.

The article's authors concluded that the woman must have smashed a mosquito on her skin, smearing its body parts into the bite.

Many people already take similar advice when removing ticks. Doctors have long cautioned that squashing a tick on skin could put a person at greater risk of Lyme disease.