Jet Lag and Enhanced Susceptibility to Malaria

It’s mosquito season too! If you also didn’t know it is cherry season, read my previous blog entry, “Pop Those Cherries….And Fall Sleep”. Dissimilar to cherries, which promote restorative sleep by facilitating melatonin release, mosquitoes disrupt sleep; duh! A paper published in 2006 titled “Jet lag and enhanced susceptibility to malaria” by Kumar et company (no, the other author is not Harold) is nicely summarized by “A Blog Around the Clock.” who also devotes his time to the investigation of circadian phenomena.

In brief, there not only is a diurnal rhythm of insect itching, which peaks near midnight and subsequently coincides with mosquito feeding, but jet lag perturbs this diurnal rhythm in addition to fracking up of other circadian rhythms such as core body temperature, melatonin release, alertness, and digestion to name a few. This perturbed uncoupling of itching and feeding is an underlying predisposition to malaria.

Bottom line: If you are traveling transmeridian, particularly to areas of the world where malaria is prevalent, bring a net. Though I’m not certain about the efficacy of mosquito nets (montegraphia?).


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