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Concept: Vector


Anopheles arabiensis is a dominant vector of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, which feeds indoors and outdoors on human and other vertebrate hosts, making it a difficult species to control with existing control methods. Novel methods that reduce human-vector interactions are, therefore, required to improve the impact of vector control programmes. Investigating the mechanisms underlying the host discrimination process in An. arabiensis could provide valuable knowledge leading to the development of novel control technologies. In this study, a host census and blood meal analysis were conducted to determine the host selection behaviour of An. arabiensis. Since mosquitoes select and discriminate among hosts primarily using olfaction, the volatile headspace of the preferred non-human host and non-host species, were collected. Using combined gas chromatography and electroantennographic detection analysis followed by combined gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, the bioactive compounds in the headspace collections were identified. The efficiency of the identified non-host compounds to repel host-seeking malaria mosquitoes was tested under field conditions.

Concepts: Human, Malaria, Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Anopheles, Mosquito, Vector, Mosquito control


Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a globally significant disease, with 1.3 billion persons in 83 countries at risk. A coordinated effort of administering annual macrofilaricidal prophylactics to the entire at-risk population has succeeded in impacting and eliminating LF transmission in multiple regions. However, some areas in the South Pacific are predicted to persist as transmission sites, due in part to the biology of the mosquito vector, which has led to a call for additional tools to augment drug treatments. Autocidal strategies against mosquitoes are resurging in the effort against invasive mosquitoes and vector borne disease, with examples that include field trials of genetically modified mosquitoes and Wolbachia population replacement. However, critical questions must be addressed in anticipation of full field trials, including assessments of field competitiveness of transfected males and the risk of unintended population replacement.

Concepts: Quantum mechanics, Malaria, Infection, Mosquito, Vector, Filariasis, Doxycycline, The Mosquito


Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a disabling and disfiguring disease resulting from a mosquito-borne parasitic infection. It is a major public health problem in many countries with a warm climate. Research and control activities have mainly focused on LF in rural areas where it also has its major impact. However, with rapid and unplanned growth of cities in the developing world, there is a need also to consider LF transmission and control in urban settings. Here, we review currently available knowledge on urban LF and the environmental and socio-economic basis for its occurrence. Among the three parasite species causing LF in humans, only Wuchereria bancrofti has been documented to have a significant potential for urban transmission. This is primarily because one of its vectors, Culex quinquefasciatus, thrives and proliferates excessively in crowded city areas with poor sanitary, sewerage and drainage facilities. For this reason, urban LF also often shows a marked focality in distribution, with most cases clustered in areas inhabited by the less privileged city populations. More knowledge on urban LF is needed, in particular on its socio-economic and human behavioural context, on the potential for transmission in regions where other LF vector species predominate, and on rapid methods for identification and mapping of risk areas, to provide a strong evidence base for its control.

Concepts: Malaria, Population, Anopheles, City, Vector, Diethylcarbamazine, Filariasis, Wuchereria bancrofti


BACKGROUND: The goal of malaria elimination necessitates an improved understanding of any fine-scale geographic variations in transmission risk so that complementary vector control tools can be integrated into current vector control programmes as supplementary measures that are spatially targeted to maximize impact upon residual transmission. This study examines the distribution of host-seeking malaria vectors at households within two villages in rural Tanzania. METHODS: Host-seeking mosquitoes were sampled from 72 randomly selected households in two villages on a monthly basis throughout 2008 using CDC light-traps placed beside occupied nets. Spatial autocorrelation in the dataset was examined using the Moran’s I statistic and the location of any clusters was identified using the Getis-Ord Gi* statistic. Statistical associations between the household characteristics and clusters of mosquitoes were assessed using a generalized linear model for each species. RESULTS: For both Anopheles gambiae sensu lato and Anopheles funestus, the density of host-seeking females was spatially autocorrelated, or clustered. For both species, houses with low densities were clustered in the semi-urban village centre while houses with high densities were clustered in the periphery of the villages. Clusters of houses with low or high densities of An. gambiae s.l. were influenced by the number of residents in nearby houses. The occurrence of high-density clusters of An. gambiae s.l. was associated with lower elevations while An. funestus was also associated with higher elevations. Distance from the village centre was also positively correlated with the number of household occupants and having houses constructed with open eaves. CONCLUSION: The results of the current study highlight that complementary vector control tools could be most effectively targeted to the periphery of villages where the households potentially have a higher hazard (mosquito densities) and vulnerability (open eaves and larger households) to malaria infection.

Concepts: Statistics, Malaria, Anopheles, Mosquito, Yellow fever, Vector, Mosquito control, Anopheles gambiae


The fight against diseases spread by mosquitoes and other insects has enormous environmental, economic and social consequences. Chemical insecticides remain the first line of defence but the control of diseases, especially malaria and dengue fever, is being increasingly undermined by insecticide resistance. Mosquitoes have a large repertoire of P450s (over 100 genes). By pinpointing the key enzymes associated with insecticide resistance we can begin to develop new tools to aid the implementation of control interventions and reduce their environmental impact on Earth. Recent technological advances are helping us to build a functional profile of the P450 determinants of insecticide metabolic resistance in mosquitoes. Alongside, the cross-responses of mosquito P450s to insecticides and pollutants are also being investigated. Such research will provide the means to produce diagnostic tools for early detection of P450s linked to resistance. It will also enable the design of new insecticides with optimized efficacy in different environments.

Concepts: Malaria, Insect, Mosquito, Cytochrome P450, Fever, Dengue fever, Vector, Mosquito control


Plasmodium knowlesi is a zoonotic pathogen, transmitted among macaques and to humans by anopheline mosquitoes. Information on P. knowlesi malaria is lacking in most regions so the first step to understand the geographical distribution of disease risk is to define the distributions of the reservoir and vector species.

Concepts: Malaria, Anopheles, Mosquito, Yellow fever, Primate, Dengue fever, Vector, Plasmodium knowlesi


Host-seeking behaviours in anopheline mosquitoes are time-of-day specific, with a greater propensity for nocturnal biting. We investigated how a short exposure to light presented during the night or late day can inhibit biting activity and modulate flight activity behaviour.

Concepts: Malaria, Anopheles, Mosquito, Yellow fever, Aedes aegypti, Culicidae, Vector, Anopheles gambiae


Recent reports suggest that host-seeking nymphs in southern populations of Ixodes scapularis remain below the leaf litter surface, while northern nymphs seek hosts on leaves and twigs above the litter surface. This behavioral difference potentially results in decreased tick contact with humans in the south, and fewer cases of Lyme disease. We studied whether north-south differences in tick survival patterns might contribute to this phenomenon. Four month old larvae resulting from a cross between Wisconsin males and South Carolina females died faster under southern than under northern conditions in the lab, as has previously been reported for ticks from both northern and southern populations. However, newly-emerged larvae from Rhode Island parents did not differ consistently in mortality under northern and southern conditions, possibly because of their younger age. Survival is lower, and so the north-south survival difference might be greater in older ticks. Larval survival was positively related to larval size (as measured by scutal area), while survival was positively related to larval fat content in some, but not all, trials. The difference in larval survival under northern vs. southern conditions might simply result from faster metabolism under warmer southern conditions leading to shorter life spans. However, ticks consistently died faster under southern than under northern conditions in the laboratory when relative humidity was low (75%), but not under moderate (85%) or high (95%) RH. Therefore, mortality due to desiccation stress is greater under southern than under northern conditions. We hypothesize that mortality resulting from the greater desiccation stress under southern conditions acts as a selective pressure resulting in the evolution of host-seeking behavior in which immatures remain below the leaf litter surface in southern I. scapularis populations, so as to avoid the desiccating conditions at the surface. If this hypothesis is correct, it has implications for the effect of climate change on the future distribution of Lyme disease.

Concepts: Lyme disease, Relative humidity, Tick, Ixodes scapularis, Babesiosis, Ixodes, Vector, Tick-borne disease


Residual malaria transmission has been reported in many areas even with adequate indoor vector control coverage, such as long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs). The increased insecticide resistance in Anopheles mosquitoes has resulted in reduced efficacy of the widely used indoor tools and has been linked with an increase in outdoor malaria transmission. There are considerations of incorporating outdoor interventions into integrated vector management (IVM) to achieve malaria elimination; however, more information on the combination of tools for effective control is needed to determine their utilization.

Concepts: Malaria, Anopheles, Mosquito, Yellow fever, Integral, Pesticide, Vector, Mosquito control


Mosquitoes display biting preferences among different sites of the human body. In addition to height or convection currents, body odour may play a role in the selection of these biting sites. Previous studies have shown that skin emanations are important host-finding cues for mosquitoes. In this study, skin emanations were collected from armpits, hands and feet; the volatile profiles were analysed and tested for their attractiveness to the malaria mosquito Anopheles coluzzii. Skin emanations collected from armpits were less attractive to An. coluzzii compared to hands or/and feet. The difference may have been caused by deodorant residues, which were found in the armpit samples and not in those of hands and feet. In a subsequent experiment, volunteers were asked to avoid using skincare products for five days, and thereafter, no differences in attractiveness of the body parts to mosquitoes were found. The detected deodorant compound isopropyl tetradecanoate inhibited mosquito landings in a repellent bioassay. It is concluded that the volatiles emanated from different body parts induced comparable levels of attraction in mosquitoes, and that skincare products may reduce a person’s attractiveness to mosquitoes.

Concepts: Malaria, Anopheles, Mosquito, Difference, Human body, Vector, Insect repellent, Body odor