Jennifer Jones spent most of her summer at home, as so many of us did, trying to avoid the plague. Jones, 45, lives in Tavernier, a community in the Florida Keys just south of Key Largo, and passed a lot of time in her yard, puttering around with plants. At some point, a mosquito landed on her. That's not unusual in Florida, and Jones doesn't remember this mosquito bite in particular. But it was not a garden-variety backyard mosquito. It was Aedes aegypti , an exquisitely designed killing machine that is one of the most deadly animals in human history. By one count, half the people who have ever lived have been killed by mosquito-borne pathogens. Aedes aegypti, which first arrived in North America on slave ships in the 17th century, is capable of carrying a whole arsenal of dangerous diseases, from yellow fever to Zika. The mosquito could sense the heat of Jones' body and smell CO2 on her breath from more than 30 feet away. It landed on her exposed flesh, likely her arm or lower leg. The mosquito was a female — only females drink blood, which they need to produce their eggs. It worked quickly, knowing,… Read full this story
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