Blood Thirsty: A Hiaku

2006 Prof. Frank Hadley Collins, Dir., Cntr. for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, Univ. of Notre Dame This 2006 image depicted a female Aedes aegypti mosquito as she was obtaining a blood-meal from a human host through her fascicle, which had penetrated the host skin, was reddening in color, reflecting the blood?s coloration through this tubular structure. In this case, what would normally be an unsuspecting host was actually the CDC?s biomedical photographer?s own hand, which he?d offered to the hungry mosquito so that she?d alight, and be photographed while feeding. As it would fill with blood, the abdomen would become distended, thereby, stretching the exterior exoskeletal surface, causing it to become transparent, and allowed the collecting blood to become visible as an enlarging intra-abdominal red mass, as is the case in PHIL# 9175, and 9176. As the primary vector responsible for the transmission of the Flavivirus Dengue (DF), and Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), the day-biting Aedes aegypti mosquito prefers to feed on its human hosts. Ae. aegypti also plays a major role as a vector for another Flavivirus, "Yellow fever". Frequently found in its tropical environs, the white banded markings on the tarsal segments of its jointed legs, though distinguishing it as Ae. aegypti, are similar to some other mosquito species. Also note the lyre-shaped, silvery-white markings on its thoracic region as well, which is also a determining morphologic identifying characteristic.Blood Thirsty

I hear her wings whine
as she lands, ready to bite.
Smack! I strike her down.

 

Living next to wetlands is amazing for birding, but shitty for mosquitoes. They are everywhere right now. I can’t even take my son outdoors because the little bloodsuckers practically eat him alive. And we know right away when he’s been bitten; the area swells up to twice its normal size and turns bright red. One bit him next to his eye the other day, and it looked like he’d been punched.

These intrepid little creatures put the verb in bug. They are irritating, to say the least, robbing us of sleep if we are unfortunate enough to have one trapped in our bedroom. Their high pitched whine bombarding our ears, warning of potential itching from their bites in the morning. They make outings unbearable, driving us indoors. They carry nasty diseases, (malaria, filariasis (aka elephantiasis), encephalitis, West Nile virus, yellow fever, dengue) killing millions every year in developing countries.

I’m hoping this flying plague passes, and soon. I would like to spend some quality time out of doors where I don’t have to stand vigil over my toddler, swatting away tiny airborne bodies, as he frolics in the grass.

Photo credit:
Aedes aegypti mosquito by Sanofi Pasteur via Flickr Creative Commons

Cynthia Varady

Cynthia Varady

Cynthia Varady is an award-winning freelance writer and co-owner of the book review website, DuelingLibrarians.net. She currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son. Cynthia has her BA in English Literature from Sonoma State University, and her Masters in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. Occasionally, Cynthia can be found voicing characters in casual video games, including Stella in the Aveyond series. She is presently working on a young adult fantasy novel.

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