Mosquito Death Squad

Mosquito Squad in Montgomery, Alabama

Deadliest Creature On Earth

What would you do if you were bitten by the deadliest animal alive?

What if you were bitten over 500 times every week?

We found someone that routinely does this as part of their job with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Watch the following video and learn more:

Credit: National Geographic 1

Video duration: 3:07

Sacrificing Their Own Blood

Intro:

“Mosquitoes can carry some of the most deadly diseases known to man, but that won’t stop some scientists from sacrificing their own blood to feed them for a greater benefit. From The Big Picture with Kal Penn 2.

Begin transcript

“So if I asked you what the deadliest creature on earth is, what would you say?

What about rats?

Those little creeps can give you a nasty case of Hantavirus 3.

Monkeys infected with Ebola 4?

That is horrible, but ‘no’.

How about rabid dogs?

Nope. It’s not dogs with rabies.

But seriously, do not go near them!

No, the most dangerous animal in the world weighs two-and-a-half (2.5) milligrams.

And you can kill it with a rolled up newspaper.

The most dangerous animal in the world is the mosquito.

Mosquitoes carry deadly diseases like Malaria.

There are about seven (7) billion people on the planet and 3.2 billion people at risk of contracting malaria.

198 million people were infected with malaria in 2012 alone.

And an estimated 584,000 people died from it, that’s almost the total population of Las Vegas!

And it’s not just malaria.

Mosquitoes also spread West Nile Virus.

There have been an estimated 40,000 cases in the U.S. alone.

The insect also carries Dengue Fever which kills about 22,000 people every year.

And now mosquitoes are spreading a disease called Chikungunya, it’s already been reported in 47 States.

At the Centers for Disease Control 5 they are fighting back against the mosquito.

The CDC brings a lot of firepower to this fight.

It has a 6.6 billion dollar budget and 15,000 employees who work with some of the most high-tech medical equipment on the planet.

But despite all that, their best tool in fighting malaria is definitely low-tech.

At the CDC, these guys have their own skin in the game.

‘About 500 to 1000 mosquitoes bite me per week.

In order to keep these mosquitoes alive, I’m feeding these mosquitoes myself.

They’ll use this blood to make eggs and to make babies who’ll grow up and feed on me as well.’

Paul Howell is a scientist at the CDC.

This man knows his mosquitoes.

He collects them.

He studies them.

He sleeps with them.

And every week he feeds them on his own blood.

‘I can feel them actually inserting and probing their little mouth pieces, but I’ve been bitten many times and don’t feel the pain that most people feel when a mosquito bites them.

The one thing that everyone tells me is that, ‘why do you keep these mosquitoes alive, why aren’t you finding ways to kill them’?

And I explain that we have to keep them alive so we can find better ways of killing them’.”

End transcript

Footnote(s)

1 Video is courtesy of National Geographic, visit their website.

2 Official website for The Big Picture with Kal Penn TV program.

3 What is Hantavirus?

4 Visit Wikipedia and learn more about Ebola Virus.

5 Learn more about The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.