Malaria vector control is threatened by resistance to pyrethroids, the only class of insecticides used for treating bed nets. The second major vector control method is indoor residual spraying with pyrethroids or the organochloride DDT. However, resistance to pyrethroids frequently confers resistance to DDT. Therefore, alternative insecticides are urgently needed.
Insecticide resistance and the efficacy of indoor residual spraying with different insecticides was determined in a Gambian village. Resistance of local vectors to pyrethroids and DDT was high (31% and 46% mortality, respectively) while resistance to bendiocarb and pirimiphos methyl was low (88% and 100% mortality, respectively). The vectors were predominantly Anopheles
s.s. with 94% of them having the putative resistant genotype kdr 1014F. Four groups of eight residential compounds were each sprayed with either (1) bendiocarb, a carbamate, (2) DDT, an organochlorine, (3) microencapsulated pirimiphos methyl, an organophosphate, or (4) left unsprayed. All insecticides tested showed high residual activity up to five months after application. Mosquito house entry, estimated by light traps, was similar in all houses with metal roofs, but was significantly less in IRS houses with thatched roofs (p=0.02). Residents participating in focus group discussions indicated that IRS was considered a necessary nuisance and also may decrease the use of long-lasting insecticidal nets.
Bendiocarb and microencapsulated pirimiphos methyl are viable alternatives for indoor residual spraying where resistance to pyrethroids and DDT is high and may assist in the management of pyrethroid resistance.
Different techniques are available for colour marking insects and each technique may be suitable for different insect species. Mosquitoes can be marked to determine population size, distribution and flight distance or distinguish closely related species. In this study, two methods of colour marking mosquitoes were described in detail and the impact of both methods on the survival and host-seeking behaviour of the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto was investigated.
Mosquitoes were marked in groups with fluorescent powder or fluorescent dye. The powder was applied by creating a cloud of powder in a paper cup and the dye was applied with an airbrush. The effect of marking on the survival of mosquitoes of different age groups was tested under controlled conditions. The effect of marking on the host seeking response of the mosquitoes was tested in an olfactometer with human and cow odour as baits.
No effect of either of the marking methods was found on the survival of mosquitoes that were treated 1 or 3 days after emergence, however, the survival of mosquitoes treated 5 or 9 days after emergence was significantly reduced. The host-seeking response of mosquitoes to human or cow odour was tested in a dual-port olfactometer and was not found to be affected by treatment with fluorescent powder or dye.
Both methods are suitable for colour marking large groups of mosquitoes. Marking with fluorescent powder, however, is preferred because the method is simpler, visible without a UV light and no specific materials are required.
Anopheles gambiae; Marking; Survival; Host-seeking; Olfactometer; Fluorescent paint
There is much evidence that some pathogens manipulate the behaviour of their mosquito hosts to enhance pathogen transmission. However, it is unknown whether this phenomenon exists in the interaction of Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto with the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum - one of the most important interactions in the context of humanity, with malaria causing over 200 million human cases and over 770 thousand deaths each year. Here we demonstrate, for the first time, that infection with P. falciparum causes alterations in behavioural responses to host-derived olfactory stimuli in host-seeking female An. gambiae s.s. mosquitoes. In behavioural experiments we showed that P. falciparum-infected An. gambiae mosquitoes were significantly more attracted to human odors than uninfected mosquitoes. Both P. falciparum-infected and uninfected mosquitoes landed significantly more on a substrate emanating human skin odor compared to a clean substrate. However, significantly more infected mosquitoes landed and probed on a substrate emanating human skin odor than uninfected mosquitoes. This is the first demonstration of a change of An. gambiae behaviour in response to olfactory stimuli caused by infection with P. falciparum. The results of our study provide vital information that could be used to provide better predictions of how malaria is transmitted from human being to human being by An. gambiae s.s. females. Additionally, it highlights the urgent need to investigate this interaction further to determine the olfactory mechanisms that underlie the differential behavioural responses. In doing so, new attractive compounds could be identified which could be used to develop improved mosquito traps for surveillance or trapping programmes that may even specifically target P. falciparum-infected An. gambiae s.s. females.
A longitudinal study of malaria vectors was carried out in three villages in Suriname between 2006 and 2010. During 13,392 man hours of collections, 3,180 mosquitoes were collected, of which 33.7% were anophelines. Of these, Anopheles darlingi accounted for 88.1%, and An. nuneztovari accounted for 11.1%. The highest mean An. darlingi human biting rate (HBR) observed per survey was 1.43 bites/man per hour outdoor and 1.09 bites/man per hour indoor; 2 An. darlingi of the 683 tested were infected with Plasmodium falciparum. The anopheline HBR decreased to zero after the onset of malaria intervention activities, including insecticide-treated net (ITN) distribution, in 2006. Malaria transmission decreased to pre-elimination levels. It is concluded that the combination of ITN and climatic events has led to the collapse of malaria vector populations in the study sites in the interior of the country. The results are discussed in relation to the stability of malaria transmission in areas with low-density human populations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ixodes ricinus transmits Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, the etiological agent of Lyme disease. Previous studies have also detected Rickettsia helvetica, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Neoehrlichia mikurensis, and several Babesia species in questing ticks in The Netherlands. In this study, we assessed the acarological risk of exposure to several tick-borne pathogens (TBPs), in The Netherlands. Questing ticks were collected monthly between 2006 and 2010 at 21 sites and between 2000 and 2009 at one other site. Nymphs and adults were analysed individually for the presence of TBPs using an array-approach. Collated data of this and previous studies were used to generate, for each pathogen, a presence/absence map and to further analyse their spatiotemporal variation. R. helvetica (31.1%) and B. burgdorferi sensu lato (11.8%) had the highest overall prevalence and were detected in all areas. N. mikurensis (5.6%), A. phagocytophilum (0.8%), and Babesia spp. (1.7%) were detected in most, but not all areas. The prevalences of pathogens varied among the study areas from 0 to 64%, while the density of questing ticks varied from 1 to 179/100 m2. Overall, 37% of the ticks were infected with at least one pathogen and 6.3% with more than one pathogen. One-third of the Borrelia-positive ticks were infected with at least one other pathogen. Coinfection of B. afzelii with N. mikurensis and with Babesia spp. occurred significantly more often than single infections, indicating the existence of mutual reservoir hosts. Alternatively, coinfection of R. helvetica with either B. afzelii or N. mikurensis occurred significantly less frequent. The diversity of TBPs detected in I. ricinus in this study and the frequency of their coinfections with B. burgdorferi s.l., underline the need to consider them when evaluating the risks of infection and subsequently the risk of disease following a tick bite.
vector-borne disease; Borrelia burgdorferi; Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis; Rickettsia helvetica; Rickettsia conorii; Anaplasma phagocytophilum; Babesia; Ixodes ricinus
Between 1994 and 2009, a threefold increase has been observed in consultations of general practitioners for tick bites and Lyme disease in The Netherlands. The objective of this study was to determine whether an increase in the number of questing ticks infected with B. burgdorferi sensu lato is a potential cause of the rise in Lyme disease incidence.
Historic data on land usage, temperature and wildlife populations were collected and analyzed together with data from two longitudinal field studies on density of questing ticks. Effective population sizes of Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. were calculated.
Long-term trend analyses indicated that the length of the annual tick questing season increased as well as the surface area of tick-suitable habitats in The Netherlands. The overall abundances of feeding and reproductive hosts also increased. Mathematical analysis of the data from the field studies demonstrated an increase in mean densities/activities of questing ticks, particularly of larvae between 2006 and 2009. No increase in infection rate of ticks with Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato was found. Population genetic analysis of the collected Borrelia species points to an increase in B. afzelii and B. garinii populations.
Together, these findings indicate an increase in the total number of Borrelia-infected ticks, providing circumstantial evidence for an increase in the risk of acquiring a bite of a tick infected with B. burgdorferi s.l. Due to the high spatiotemporal variation of tick densities/activities, long-term longitudinal studies on population dynamics of I. ricinus are necessary to observe significant trends.
Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato; Ixodes ricinus; Population dynamics; Lyme disease; The Netherlands
Synthetic odour baits present an unexploited potential for sampling, surveillance and control of malaria and other mosquito vectors. However, application of such baits is impeded by the unavailability of robust odour delivery devices that perform reliably under field conditions. In the present study the suitability of low density polyethylene (LDPE) and nylon strips for dispensing synthetic attractants of host-seeking Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes was evaluated.
Baseline experiments assessed the numbers of An. gambiae mosquitoes caught in response to low density polyethylene (LDPE) sachets filled with attractants, attractant-treated nylon strips, control LDPE sachets, and control nylon strips placed in separate MM-X traps. Residual attraction of An. gambiae to attractant-treated nylon strips was determined subsequently. The effects of sheet thickness and surface area on numbers of mosquitoes caught in MM-X traps containing the synthetic kairomone blend dispensed from LDPE sachets and nylon strips were also evaluated. Various treatments were tested through randomized 4 × 4 Latin Square experimental designs under semi-field conditions in western Kenya.
Attractant-treated nylon strips collected 5.6 times more An. gambiae mosquitoes than LDPE sachets filled with the same attractants. The attractant-impregnated nylon strips were consistently more attractive (76.95%; n = 9,120) than sachets containing the same attractants (18.59%; n = 2,203), control nylon strips (2.17%; n = 257) and control LDPE sachets (2.29%; n = 271) up to 40 days post-treatment (P < 0.001). The higher catches of mosquitoes achieved with nylon strips were unrelated to differences in surface area between nylon strips and LDPE sachets. The proportion of mosquitoes trapped when individual components of the attractant were dispensed in LDPE sachets of optimized sheet thicknesses was significantly higher than when 0.03 mm-sachets were used (P < 0.001).
Nylon strips continuously dispense synthetic mosquito attractants several weeks post treatment. This, added to the superior performance of nylon strips relative to LDPE material in dispensing synthetic mosquito attractants, opens up the opportunity for showcasing the effectiveness of odour-baited devices for sampling, surveillance and control of disease vectors.
Mosquito; Trapping; Attractant; Odour release system
A double-blind phase III malaria prevention trial was conducted in two refugee camps using pre-manufactured insecticide-treated plastic sheeting (ITPS) or untreated polyethylene sheeting (UPS) randomly deployed to defined sectors of each camp. In Largo camp the ITPS or UPS was attached to inner walls and ceilings of shelters, whereas in Tobanda the ITPS or UPS was used to line only the ceiling and roof. In Largo the Plasmodium falciparum incidence rate in children up to 3 years of age who were cleared of parasites and monitored for 8 months was 163/100 person-years under UPS and 63 under ITPS (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.40, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.33–0.47). In Tobanda incidence was 157/100 person-years under UPS and 134 under ITPS (AOR = 0.85, 95% CI = 0.75–0.95). Protective efficacy was 61% under fully lined ITPS and 15% under roof lined ITPS. Anemia rates improved under ITPS in both camps. This novel tool proved to be a convenient, safe, and long-lasting method of malaria control when used as a full shelter lining in an emergency setting.
Neoehrlichia mikurensis s an emerging and vector-borne zoonosis: The first human disease cases were reported in 2010. Limited information is available about the prevalence and distribution of Neoehrlichia mikurensis in Europe, its natural life cycle and reservoir hosts. An Ehrlichia-like schotti variant has been described in questing Ixodes ricinus ticks, which could be identical to Neoehrlichia mikurensis.
Three genetic markers, 16S rDNA, gltA and GroEL, of Ehrlichia schotti-positive tick lysates were amplified, sequenced and compared to sequences from Neoehrlichia mikurensis. Based on these DNA sequences, a multiplex real-time PCR was developed to specifically detect Neoehrlichia mikurensis in combination with Anaplasma phagocytophilum in tick lysates. Various tick species from different life-stages, particularly Ixodes ricinus nymphs, were collected from the vegetation or wildlife. Tick lysates and DNA derived from organs of wild rodents were tested by PCR-based methods for the presence of Neoehrlichia mikurensis. Prevalence of Neoehrlichia mikurensis was calculated together with confidence intervals using Fisher's exact test.
The three genetic markers of Ehrlichia schotti-positive field isolates were similar or identical to Neoehrlichia mikurensis. Neoehrlichia mikurensis was found to be ubiquitously spread in the Netherlands and Belgium, but was not detected in the 401 tick samples from the UK. Neoehrlichia mikurensis was found in nymphs and adult Ixodes ricinus ticks, but neither in their larvae, nor in any other tick species tested. Neoehrlichia mikurensis was detected in diverse organs of some rodent species. Engorging ticks from red deer, European mouflon, wild boar and sheep were found positive for Neoehrlichia mikurensis.
Ehrlichia schotti is similar, if not identical, to Neoehrlichia mikurensis. Neoehrlichia mikurensis is present in questing Ixodes ricinus ticks throughout the Netherlands and Belgium. We propose that Ixodes ricinus can transstadially, but not transovarially, transmit this microorganism, and that different rodent species may act as reservoir hosts. These data further imply that wildlife and humans are frequently exposed to Neoehrlichia mikurensis-infected ticks through tick bites. Future studies should aim to investigate to what extent Neoehrlichia mikurensis poses a risk to public health.
Vector-borne disease; Emerging zoonoses; Candidatus N. mikurensis; I. ricinus; Anaplasma phagocytophylum
Willem Takken and colleagues argue for the expansion of insecticide monotherapy in malaria control by taking lessons from agriculture and including more sustainable integrated vector management strategies.
Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites which are transmitted by mosquitoes. Until recently, human malaria was considered to be caused by human-specific Plasmodium species. Studies on Plasmodium parasites in non-human primates (NHPs), however, have identified parasite species in gorillas and chimpanzees that are closely related to human Plasmodium species. Moreover, P. knowlesi, long known as a parasite of monkeys, frequently infects humans. The requirements for such a cross-species exchange and especially the role of mosquitoes in this process are discussed, as the latter may act as bridge vectors of Plasmodium species between different primates. Little is known about the mosquito species that would bite both humans and NHPs and if so, whether humans and NHPs share the same Plasmodium vectors. To understand the vector-host interactions that can lead to an increased Plasmodium transmission between species, studies are required that reveal the nature of these interactions. Studying the potential role of NHPs as a Plasmodium reservoir for humans will contribute to the ongoing efforts of human malaria elimination, and will help to focus on critical areas that should be considered in achieving this goal.
apes; cross-species transmission; host preference; mosquito behavior; Plasmodium
In western Kenya, malaria remains one of the major health problems and its control remains an important public health measure. Malaria control is by either use of drugs to treat patients infected with malaria parasites or by controlling the vectors. Vector control may target the free living adult or aquatic (larval) stages of mosquito. The most commonly applied control strategies target indoor resting mosquitoes. However, because mosquitoes spend a considerable time in water, targeting the aquatic stages can complement well with existing adult control measures.
Larval source management (LSM) of malaria vectors was examined in two villages i.e. Fort Ternan and Lunyerere, with the aim of testing strategies that can easily be accessed by the affected communities. Intervention strategies applied include environmental management through source reduction (drainage of canals, land levelling or by filling ditches with soil), habitat manipulation (by provision of shading from arrow root plant), application of Bacillus thuringiensis var israelensis (Bti) and the use of predatory fish, Gambusia affinis. The abundance of immature stages of Anopheles and Culex within intervention habitats was compared to that within non-intervention habitats.
The findings show that in Fort Ternan no significant differences were observed in the abundance of Anopheles early and late instars between intervention and non-intervention habitats. In Lunyerere, the abundance of Anopheles early instars was fifty five times more likely to be present within non-intervention habitats than in habitats under drainage. No differences in early instars abundance were observed between non-intervention and habitats applied with Bti. However, late instars had 89 % and 91 % chance of being sampled from non-intervention rather than habitats under drainage and those applied with Bti respectively.
Most of these interventions were applied in habitats that arose due to human activities. Involvement of community members in control programs would be beneficial in the long term once they understand the role they play in malaria transmission. Apart from the need for communities to be educated on their role in malaria transmission, there is a need to develop and test strategies that can easily be accessed and hence be used by the affected communities. The proposed LSM strategies target outdoor immature mosquitoes and hence can complement well with control measures that target indoor resting vectors. Therefore inclusion of LSM in Integrated Vector Management (IVM) program would be beneficial.
Anopheles spp; Larval source management; Bacillus thuringiensis var israelensis (Bti); Drainage; Gambusia affinis; Arrow root; Kenya
There has recently been a substantial decline in malaria incidence in much of Africa. While the decline can clearly be linked to increasing coverage of mosquito vector control interventions and effective drug treatment in most settings, the ubiquity of reduction raises the possibility that additional ecological and associated evolutionary changes may be reinforcing the effectiveness of current vector control strategies in previously unanticipated ways.
Presentation of hypothesis
Here it is hypothesized that the increasing coverage of insecticide-treated bed nets and other vector control methods may be driving selection for a shift in mosquito life history that reduces their ability to transmit malaria parasites. Specifically it is hypothesized that by substantially increasing the extrinsic rate of mortality experienced in vector populations, these interventions are creating a fitness incentive for mosquitoes to re-allocate their resources towards greater short-term reproduction at the expense of longer-term survival. As malaria transmission is fundamentally dependent on mosquito survival, a life history shift in this direction would greatly benefit control.
Testing the hypothesis
At present, direct evaluation of this hypothesis within natural vector populations presents several logistical and methodological challenges. In the meantime, many insights can be gained from research previously conducted on wild Drosophila populations. Long-term selection experiments on these organisms suggest that increasing extrinsic mortality by a magnitude similar to that anticipated from the up-scaling of vector control measures generated an increase in their intrinsic mortality rate. Although this increase was small, a change of similar magnitude in Anopheles vector populations would be predicted to reduce malaria transmission by 80%.
Implications of hypothesis
The hypothesis presented here provides a reminder that evolutionary processes induced by interventions against disease vectors may not always act to neutralize intervention effectiveness. In the search for new intervention strategies, consideration should be given to both the potential disadvantages and advantages of evolutionary processes resulting from their implementation, and attempts made to exploit those with greatest potential to enhance control.
Anopheles vectors; Life history evolution; Malaria; Insecticide-treated bed nets; Extrinsic mortality; Natural selection
Control of mosquitoes that transmit malaria has been the mainstay in the fight against the disease, but alternative methods are required in view of emerging insecticide resistance. Entomopathogenic fungi are candidate alternatives, but to date, few trials have translated the use of these agents to field-based evaluations of their actual impact on mosquito survival and malaria risk. Mineral oil-formulations of the entomopathogenic fungi Metarhizium anisopliae and Beauveria bassiana were applied using five different techniques that each exploited the behaviour of malaria mosquitoes when entering, host-seeking or resting in experimental huts in a malaria endemic area of rural Tanzania.
Survival of mosquitoes was reduced by 39-57% relative to controls after forcing upward house-entry of mosquitoes through fungus treated baffles attached to the eaves or after application of fungus-treated surfaces around an occupied bed net (bed net strip design). Moreover, 68 to 76% of the treatment mosquitoes showed fungal growth and thus had sufficient contact with fungus treated surfaces. A population dynamic model of malaria-mosquito interactions shows that these infection rates reduce malaria transmission by 75-80% due to the effect of fungal infection on adult mortality alone. The model also demonstrated that even if a high proportion of the mosquitoes exhibits outdoor biting behaviour, malaria transmission was still significantly reduced.
Entomopathogenic fungi strongly affect mosquito survival and have a high predicted impact on malaria transmission. These entomopathogens represent a viable alternative for malaria control, especially if they are used as part of an integrated vector management strategy.
Estimating the biting fraction of mosquitoes is of critical importance for risk assessment of malaria transmission. Here, we present a novel odor-based tool that has been rigorously assessed in semi-field assays and traditional African villages for estimating the number of mosquitoes that enter houses in search of a blood meal. A standard synthetic blend (SB) consisting of ammonia, (S)-lactic acid, tetradecanoic acid, and carbon dioxide was complemented with isovaleric acid, 4,5 dimethylthiazole, 2-methyl-1-butanol, and 3-methyl-1-butanol in various combinations and concentrations, and tested for attractiveness to the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae. Compounds were released through low density polyethylene (LDPE) material or from nylon strips (nylon). Studies were done in a semi-field facility and two traditional villages in western Kenya. The alcohol 3-methyl-1-butanol significantly increased the attraction of SB. The other compounds proved less effective or inhibitory. Tested in a village, 3-methyl-1-butanol, released from LDPE, increased the attraction of SB. Further studies showed a significantly enhanced attraction of adding 3-methyl-1-butanol to SB compared to previously-published attractive blends both under semi-field and village conditions. Other mosquito species with relevance for public health were collected with this blend in significantly higher numbers as well. These results demonstrate the advent of a novel, reliable odor-based sampling tool for the collection of malaria and other mosquitoes. The advantage of this odor-based tool over existing mosquito sampling tools is its reproducibility, objectiveness, and relatively low cost compared to current standards of CDC light traps or the human landing catch.
Odor-guided behavior; Synthetic odor blend; Mosquito; Anopheles gambiae; Sampling; Isovaleric acid; 4,5-dimethylthiazole; 2-methyl-1-butanol; 3-methyl-1-butanol
Teun Bousema and colleagues argue that targeting malaria “hotspots” is a highly efficient way to reduce malaria transmission at all levels of transmission intensity.
Suriname was a high malaria risk country before the introduction of a new five-year malaria control program in 2005, the Medical Mission Malaria Programme (MM-MP). Malaria was endemic in the forested interior, where especially the stabile village communities were affected.
The interventions of the MM-MP included new strategies for prevention, vector control, case management, behavioral change communication (BCC)/information, education and communication (IEC), and strengthening of the health system (surveillance, monitoring and evaluation and epidemic detection system). After a slow first year with non-satisfying scores for the performance indicators, the MM-MP truly engaged in its intervention activities in 2006 and kept its performance up until the end of 2009. A total of 69,994 long-lasting insecticide-treated nets were distributed and more than 15,000 nets re-impregnated. In high-risk areas, this was complemented with residual spraying of insecticides. Over 10,000 people were screened with active case detection in outbreak and high-risk areas. Additional notification points were established and the national health system was strengthened.
Discussion and evaluation
In the current paper, the MM-MP is evaluated both on account of the targets established within the programme and on account of its impact on the malaria situation in Suriname. Malaria vector populations, monitored in sentinel sites, collapsed after 2006 and concurrently the number of national malaria cases decreased from 8,618 in 2005 to 1,509 in 2009. Malaria transmission risk shifted from the stabile village communities to the mobile gold mining communities, especially those along the French Guiana border.
The novel strategies for malaria control introduced in Suriname within the MM-MP have led to a significant decrease in the national malaria burden. The challenge is to further reduce malaria using the available strategies as appropriate in the affected areas and populations. Elimination of malaria in the country will require a thorough understanding of transmission dynamics and a dedicated investment in key effective interventions.
Malaria control; Suriname; Insecticide-treated nets; Pre-elimination
The African malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto continues to play an important role in malaria transmission, which is aggravated by its high degree of anthropophily, making it among the foremost vectors of this disease. In the current study we set out to unravel the strong association between this mosquito species and human beings, as it is determined by odorant cues derived from the human skin. Microbial communities on the skin play key roles in the production of human body odour. We demonstrate that the composition of the skin microbiota affects the degree of attractiveness of human beings to this mosquito species. Bacterial plate counts and 16S rRNA sequencing revealed that individuals that are highly attractive to An. gambiae s.s. have a significantly higher abundance, but lower diversity of bacteria on their skin than individuals that are poorly attractive. Bacterial genera that are correlated with the relative degree of attractiveness to mosquitoes were identified. The discovery of the connection between skin microbial populations and attractiveness to mosquitoes may lead to the development of new mosquito attractants and personalized methods for protection against vectors of malaria and other infectious diseases.
Malaria mosquitoes spend a considerable part of their life in the aquatic stage, rendering them vulnerable to interventions directed to aquatic habitats. Recent successes of mosquito larval control have been reported using environmental and biological tools. Here, we report the effects of shading by plants and biological control agents on the development and survival of anopheline and culicine mosquito larvae in man-made natural habitats in western Kenya. Trials consisted of environmental manipulation using locally available plants, the introduction of predatory fish and/or the use of Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis (Bti) in various combinations.
Man-made habitats provided with shade from different crop species produced significantly fewer larvae than those without shade especially for the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae. Larval control of the African malaria mosquito An. gambiae and other mosquito species was effective in habitats where both predatory fish and Bti were applied, than where the two biological control agents were administered independently.
We conclude that integration of environmental management techniques using shade-providing plants and predatory fish and/or Bti are effective and sustainable tools for the control of malaria and other mosquito-borne disease vectors.
Rice paddies harbour a large variety of organisms including larvae of malaria mosquitoes. These paddies are challenging for mosquito control because their large size, slurry and vegetation make it difficult to effectively apply a control agent. Aquatain, a monomolecular surface film, can be considered a suitable mosquito control agent for such breeding habitats due to its physical properties. The properties allow Aquatain to self-spread over a water surface and affect multiple stages of the mosquito life cycle.
A trial based on a pre-test/post-test control group design evaluated the potential of Aquatain as a mosquito control agent at Ahero rice irrigation scheme in Kenya. After Aquatain application at a dose of 2 ml/m2 on rice paddies, early stage anopheline larvae were reduced by 36%, and late stage anopheline larvae by 16%. However, even at a lower dose of 1 ml/m2 there was a 93.2% reduction in emergence of anopheline adults and 69.5% reduction in emergence of culicine adults. No pupation was observed in treated buckets that were part of a field bio-assay carried out parallel to the trial. Aquatain application saved nearly 1.7 L of water in six days from a water surface of 0.2 m2 under field conditions. Aquatain had no negative effect on rice plants as well as on a variety of non-target organisms, except backswimmers.
We demonstrated that Aquatain is an effective agent for the control of anopheline and culicine mosquitoes in irrigated rice paddies. The agent reduced densities of aquatic larval stages and, more importantly, strongly impacted the emergence of adult mosquitoes. Aquatain also reduced water loss due to evaporation. No negative impacts were found on either abundance of non-target organisms, or growth and development of rice plants. Aquatain, therefore, appears a suitable mosquito control tool for use in rice agro-ecosystems.
Many species of mosquitoes, including the major malaria vector Anopheles gambiae, utilize carbon dioxide (CO2) and 1-octen-3-ol as olfactory cues in host-seeking behaviors that underlie their vectorial capacity. However, the molecular and cellular basis of such olfactory responses remains largely unknown.
Here, we use molecular and physiological approaches coupled with systematic functional analyses to define the complete olfactory sensory map of the An. gambiae maxillary palp, an olfactory appendage that mediates the detection of these compounds. In doing so, we identify three olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) that are organized in stereotyped triads within the maxillary-palp capitate-peg-sensillum population. One ORN is CO2-responsive and characterized by the coexpression of three receptors that confer CO2 responses, whereas the other ORNs express characteristic odorant receptors (AgORs) that are responsible for their in vivo olfactory responses.
Our results describe a complete and highly concordant map of both the molecular and cellular olfactory components on the maxillary palp of the adult female An. gambiae mosquito. These results also facilitate the understanding of how An. gambiae mosquitoes sense olfactory cues that might be exploited to compromise their ability to transmit malaria.
Heat sensitivity is a sensory modality that plays a critical role in close-range host-seeking behaviors of adult female Anopheles gambiae, the principal Afrotropical vector for human malaria. An essential step in this activity is the ability to discriminate and respond to increases in environmental temperature gradients through the process of peripheral thermoreception. Here, we report on the characterization of the anopheline homolog of the transient receptor potential (TRP) A1/ANKTM1 channel that is consistent with its role as a heat-sensor in host-seeking adult female mosquitoes. We identify a set of distal antennal sensory structures that specifically respond to temperature gradients and express AgTRPA1. Functional characterization of AgTRPA1 in Xenopus oocytes supports its role in the molecular transduction of temperature gradients in An. gambiae, providing a basis for targeting mosquito heat responses as a means toward reducing malaria transmission.
coeloconic sensilla; temperature receptor; TRP channel
Odour baited traps have potential use in population surveillance of insect vectors of disease, and in some cases for vector population reduction. Established attractants for human host-seeking mosquitoes include a combination of CO2 with L-lactic acid and ammonia, on top of which additional candidate compounds are being tested. In this field study in rural Gambia, using Latin square experiments with thorough randomization and replication, we tested nine different leading candidate combinations of chemical odorants for attractiveness to wild mosquitoes including anthropophilic malaria vectors, using modified Mosquito Magnet-X (MM-X) counterflow traps outside experimental huts containing male human sleepers. Highest catches of female mosquitoes, particularly of An. gambiae s.l. and Mansonia species, were obtained by incorporation of tetradecanoic acid. As additional carboxylic acids did not increase the trap catches further, this ‘reference blend’ (tetradecanoic acid with L-lactic acid, ammonia and CO2) was used in subsequent experiments. MM-X traps with this blend caught similar numbers of An. gambiae s.l. and slightly more Mansonia and Culex mosquitoes than a standard CDC light trap, and these numbers were not significantly affected by the presence or absence of human sleepers in the huts. Experiments with CO2 produced from overnight yeast cultures showed that this organic source was effective in enabling trap attractiveness for all mosquito species, although at a slightly lower efficiency than obtained with use of CO2 gas cylinders. Although further studies are needed to discover additional chemicals that increase attractiveness, as well as to optimise trap design and CO2 source for broader practical use, the odour-baited traps described here are safe and effective for sampling host-seeking mosquitoes outdoors and can be incorporated into studies of malaria vector ecology.