Malaria parasites can manipulate hosts body odor

Published Date : Jul 01, 2014

Malaria parasites tend to manipulate the body odor of mice, according to a research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Many researchers believe that these parasites of malaria can change the odor of their host to help them during a key stage which occurs during reproduction. Scientists found that the changed odor is present during a critical time when the mice have no symptoms but remain contagious.

More research is going and further trials are being undertaken to determine if these parasites can affect human odor as well.

In a research study, scientists from the Pennsylvania State University in the U.S. and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology studied the smell of mice with and without malaria for duration of 45 days. They found that the scent of the infected mice was different from that of the non-infected mice.

These parasites do not completely influence the odor of the host, but change it to the level that the compounds are already present in the odor of host. This was especially noticeable during the infectious stage of mice. However, it was no longer present when they showed any symptoms of the condition, which is corresponding to the important time in the life cycle of the parasite.

According to scientists, the malaria parasites are manipulating their host’s smell to ensure their survival.

Currently, researchers are working on trials to see if this pattern of smell change can be found in humans as well.