Malaria parasites that infect West African bats are closely related to parasites which are used to model human malaria in laboratory studies, researchers have discovered.
The study found that two bat-infecting malaria parasites were similar to those infecting rodents, demonstrating there have been evolutionary jumps in malaria parasites between the two species.
During research, scientists discovered that West African bats hosted a diversity of malaria parasites that are not found in other species.
It is hoped that by researching the evolution of malaria parasites, scientists will better understand the human-infecting forms of malaria.
Malaria is spread through the bite of mosquitos and remains a widespread infectious disease, sickening almost half a billion people every year around the world.Read more at American Museum of Natural History