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Posts tagged ‘drones’

How drones and monkeys are helping malaria research

Pig-tailed macaque

Pig-tailed macaque
(Image: gidovd on Flickr under CC BY 2.0)

A malaria parasite once thought confined to macaque monkeys is infecting humans more and more. Hot on its tail are researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who are using drones to map forest changes in South East Asia, as well as tracking malaria-carrying monkeys themselves. Katherine Nightingale takes a look at the project in pictures.

You might have heard of drones being used to track herds of large animals, or in search and rescue operations, but in Sabah in Malaysian Borneo, it’s trees they’ve got their eye on.

Historically, malaria in Borneo was caused by Plasmodium falciparum, a tiny parasite which hitches a ride in mosquitoes and is transmitted to people through its bite. But now people in Borneo are more likely to be infected with a parasite called Plasmodium knowlesi, which is just as severe in people as Plasmodium falciparum, even though the infection is mild in its usual targets of short-tailed and pig-tailed macaque monkeys. Read more