bims-mosdis Biomed News
on Mosquito distribution and disease
Issue of 2021‒02‒28
seventeen papers selected by
Richard Halfpenny
Staffordshire University

  1. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2021 Feb;15(2): e0009061
      Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus vector dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses. With both species expanding their global distributions at alarming rates, developing effective surveillance equipment is a continuing priority for public health researchers. Sound traps have been shown, in limited testing, to be highly species-specific when emitting a frequency corresponding to a female mosquito wingbeat. Determining male mosquito capture rates in sound traps based on lure frequencies in endemic settings is the next step for informed deployment of these surveillance tools. We field-evaluated Male Aedes Sound Traps (MASTs) set to either 450 Hz, 500 Hz, 550 Hz or 600 Hz for sampling Aedes aegypti and/or Aedes albopictus and compared catch rates to BG-Sentinel traps within Pacific (Madang, Papua New Guinea) and Latin American (Molas, Mexico and Orange Walk Town, Belize) locations. MASTs set to 450-550 Hz consistently caught male Ae. aegypti at rates comparable to BG-Sentinel traps in all locations. A peak in male Ae. albopictus captures in MASTs set at 550 Hz was observed, with the lowest mean abundance recorded in MASTs set to 450 Hz. While significantly higher abundances of male Culex were sampled in MASTs emitting lower relative frequencies in Molas, overall male Culex were captured in significantly lower abundances in the MASTs, relative to BG-Sentinel traps within all locations. Finally, significant differences in rates at which male Aedes and Culex were positively detected in trap-types per weekly collections were broadly consistent with trends in abundance data per trap-type. MASTs at 550 Hz effectively captured both male Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus while greatly reducing bycatch, especially male Culex, in locations where dengue transmission has occurred. This high species-specificity of the MAST not only reduces staff-time required to sort samples, but can also be exploited to develop an accurate smart-trap system-both outcomes potentially reducing public health program expenses.
  2. Trop Biomed. 2020 Jun 01. 37(2): 258-272
      Dengue has been a public health concern for many years in Malaysia. Having knowledge on the current circulating dengue serotypes and population of vector mosquitoes is key in controlling outbreaks and future outbreak predictions. The current study reports the first study on detecting dengue virus serotypes in the Aedes mosquito population in Sibu and Miri divisions of Sarawak. Mosquito samples were collected at selected localities from September 2016 to December 2017. Localities were selected mainly focussing on urban residential areas. The mosquitoes collected comprises of the field-caught adults and immatures collected from artificial and natural water containers. Collected mosquitoes were identified to species level and screened for the presence of dengue virus using conventional reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Dengue virus serotype 2 (DENV-2) was identified in 3 pools of field-caught female Aedes albopictus adults collected from Jalan Tong Sang, Sibu, Sibu Lake Garden, and Taman Ceria, Permyjaya, Miri, respectively. DENV-2 was also detected in one pool of adult male Ae. albopictus emerged from immatures collected from Taman Ceria, Permyjaya, Miri. The findings in this study revealed that Ae. albopictus was the main species colonizing the study areas, and the current circulating dengue virus serotype was DENV-2. This study also reports the first natural evidence of transovarial transmission of dengue in the natural population of Ae. albopictus within the study area and provides information as reference for further vector-pathogen studies.
  3. Sci Rep. 2021 Feb 25. 11(1): 4718
      Global monitoring of disease vectors is undoubtedly becoming an urgent need as the human population rises and becomes increasingly mobile, international commercial exchanges increase, and climate change expands the habitats of many vector species. Traditional surveillance of mosquitoes, vectors of many diseases, relies on catches, which requires regular manual inspection and reporting, and dedicated personnel, making large-scale monitoring difficult and expensive. New approaches are solving the problem of scalability by relying on smartphones and the Internet to enable novel community-based and digital observatories, where people can upload pictures of mosquitoes whenever they encounter them. An example is the Mosquito Alert citizen science system, which includes a dedicated mobile phone app through which geotagged images are collected. This system provides a viable option for monitoring the spread of various mosquito species across the globe, although it is partly limited by the quality of the citizen scientists' photos. To make the system useful for public health agencies, and to give feedback to the volunteering citizens, the submitted images are inspected and labeled by entomology experts. Although citizen-based data collection can greatly broaden disease-vector monitoring scales, manual inspection of each image is not an easily scalable option in the long run, and the system could be improved through automation. Based on Mosquito Alert's curated database of expert-validated mosquito photos, we trained a deep learning model to find tiger mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus), a species that is responsible for spreading chikungunya, dengue, and Zika among other diseases. The highly accurate 0.96 area under the receiver operating characteristic curve score promises not only a helpful pre-selector for the expert validation process but also an automated classifier giving quick feedback to the app participants, which may help to keep them motivated. In the paper, we also explored the possibilities of using the model to improve future data collection quality as a feedback loop.
  4. Trop Biomed. 2020 Mar 01. 37(1): 201-209
      The continued absence of an effective and safe tetravalent dengue vaccine and the lack of specific anti-viral treatment have made mosquito vector control using chemical insecticides as the mainstream for dengue prevention and control. However, the long-term use of chemical insecticides may induce resistance. Hence detection of insecticide resistance in dengue vectors is crucially important in ensuring the insecticide-based intervention in dengue control program is still effective and reliable. In this study, the susceptibility status of Aedes aegypti from five selected dengue hotspots in Klang Valley, Malaysia against pyrethroids was determined by employing the World Health Organization (WHO) protocol of adult bioassay. Four types of pyrethroids were tested against adult female Aedes aegypti to determine the knockdown rate, post 24-h adult mortality and resistance ratio. All field-collected Aedes aegypti strains were resistant to the four pyrethroids tested, except for the Taman Sungai Jelok (TSJ) strain. Permethrin exhibited the lowest knockdown rate against Aedes aegypti, followed by deltamethrin, cyfluthrin and lambda-cyhalothrin. This present study indicated the widespread of pyrethroid resistance in Aedes aegypti in Klang Valley, indicating the needs of implementing alternative measures in vector control program. The data in this study can be utilised as an input for insecticide resistance management of Aedes aegypti in Malaysia.
  5. Trop Biomed. 2020 Sep 01. 37(3): 637-649
      Studies profiling community and zonal malaria entomological risk indices are required to identify high risk areas where targeted control resources are most needed or likely to have the greatest impact on reducing risk of malaria infection. This study presents a first report on malaria vector risk indices in two vegetation zones within Adamawa state, Nigeria. Endophilic mosquitoes were collected for one year in selected communities in the Guinea and Sudan savanna zones within the State. Plasmodium falciparum Sporozoite and human blood meal ELISA assays were carried out on the female Anopheles mosquitoes collected. Sibling species composition of the An. gambiae complex were determined using PCR assays. Mean numbers of mosquitoes in the Guinea savanna communities were significantly (t = 7.73, DF = 11, p < 0.001) higher than the Sudan. Man-biting rates (F = 2.76, p = 0.13) of Anopheles mosquitoes were higher in the Guinea but not significantly different from Sudan savanna. Sporozoite rates of mosquitoes within the Guinea savanna were 2.7 times higher than the Sudan. The predominant Anopheles coluzzii species encountered in the state had higher overall human blood indices (0.63) and sporozoite rates (6.9%) compared to An. gambiae (0.39, 1.9%) and An. arabiensis (0.58, 2.3%) respectively. Overall annual human blood indices (0.59) of mosquitoes in Adamawa were lower compared to reports from other States. Prevalence and higher transmission risks indices of endophilic An. coluzzii mosquitoes reveal the need for LLIN and management of relatively permanent An. coluzzii breeding sites in the State. Widespread cattle rearing lifestyle and lower human blood indices of mosquitoes in the study area suggest the need to investigate cattle blood indices of the mosquitoes in the state. Higher entomological risk indices in the Guinea Savanna zone provide baseline information for prioritization of malaria vector control supplies within the State.
  6. Parasit Vectors. 2021 Feb 24. 14(1): 120
      BACKGROUND: Aerial applications of insecticides that target adult mosquitoes are widely used to reduce transmission of West Nile virus to humans during periods of epidemic risk. However, estimates of the reduction in abundance following these treatments typically focus on single events, rely on pre-defined, untreated control sites and can vary widely due to stochastic variation in population dynamics and trapping success unrelated to the treatment.METHODS: To overcome these limitations, we developed generalized additive models fitted to mosquito surveillance data collected from CO2-baited traps in Sacramento and Yolo counties, California from 2006 to 2017. The models accounted for the expected spatial and temporal trends in the abundance of adult female Culex (Cx.) tarsalis and Cx. pipiens in the absence of aerial spraying. Estimates for the magnitude of deviation from baseline abundance following aerial spray events were obtained from the models.
    RESULTS: At 1-week post-treatment with full spatial coverage of the trapping area by pyrethroid or pyrethrin products, Cx. pipiens abundance was reduced by a mean of 52.4% (95% confidence intrval [CI] - 65.6, - 36.5%) while the use of at least one organophosphate pesticide resulted in a mean reduction of 76.2% (95% CI - 82.8, - 67.9%). For Cx. tarsalis, at 1-week post-treatment with full coverage there was a reduction in abundance of 30.7% (95% CI - 54.5, 2.5%). Pesticide class was not a significant factor contributing to the reduction. In comparison, repetition of spraying over three to four consecutive weeks resulted in similar estimates for Cx. pipiens and estimates of somewhat smaller magnitude for Cx. tarsalis.
    CONCLUSIONS: Aerial adulticides are effective for achieving a rapid short-term reduction of the abundance of the primary West Nile virus vectors, Cx. tarsalis and Cx. pipiens. A larger magnitude of reduction was estimated in Cx. pipiens, possibly due to the species' focal distribution. Effects of aerial sprays on Cx. tarsalis populations are likely modulated by the species' large dispersal ability, population sizes and vast productive larval habitat present in the study area. Our modeling approach provides a new way to estimate effects of public health pesticides on vector populations using routinely collected observational data and accounting for spatio-temporal trends and contextual factors like weather and habitat. This approach does not require pre-selected control sites and expands upon past studies that have focused on the effects of individual aerial treatment events.
    Keywords:  Adulticide; Aerial spraying; Culex pipiens; Culex tarsalis; GAM; Generalized additive models; Mosquito-borne disease; Mosquitoes; Spatial-temporal model; West Nile virus
  7. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2021 Feb 26. 15(2): e0009139
      Dengue is endemic in tropical and subtropical countries and is transmitted mainly by Aedes aegypti. Mosquito movement can be affected by human-made structures such as roads that can act as a barrier. Roads can influence the population genetic structure of Ae. aegypti. We investigated the genetic structure and gene flow of Ae. aegypti as influenced by a primary road, España Boulevard (EB) with 2000-meter-long stretch and 24-meters-wide in a very fine spatial scale. We hypothesized that Ae. aegypti populations separated by EB will be different due to the limited gene flow as caused by the barrier effect of the road. A total of 359 adults and 17 larvae Ae. aegypti were collected from June to September 2017 in 13 sites across EB. North (N1-N8) and South (S1-S5) comprised of 211 and 165 individuals, respectively. All mosquitoes were genotyped at 11 microsatellite loci. AMOVA FST indicated significant genetic differentiation across the road. The constructed UPGMA dendrogram found 3 genetic groups revealing the clear separation between North and South sites across the road. On the other hand, Bayesian cluster analysis showed four genetic clusters (K = 4) wherein each individual samples have no distinct genetic cluster thus genetic admixture. Our results suggest that human-made landscape features such as primary roads are potential barriers to mosquito movement thereby limiting its gene flow across the road. This information is valuable in designing an effective mosquito control program in a very fine spatial scale.
  8. J Therm Biol. 2021 Feb;pii: S0306-4565(20)30597-0. [Epub ahead of print]96 102826
      Mosquitoes are regarded as one of the most dangerous animals on earth. Because they are responsible for the spread of a wide range of both human and animal pathogens, research of the underlying mechanisms of their feeding behavior and physiology is critical. Among disease vector mosquitoes, Culex quinquefasciatus, a known carrier of West Nile virus and Western Equine Encephalitis, remains relatively understudied. As blood-sucking insects, adaptations (either at the molecular or physiological level) while feeding on warm blood are crucial to their survival, as overheating can result in death due to heat stress. Our research aims to determine how Cx. quinquefasciatus copes with the heat associated with warm blood meal ingestion and possibly uncover the adaptations this species uses to avoid thermal stress. Through the use of thermographic imaging, we analyzed the body temperature of Cx. quinquefasciatus while blood feeding. Infrared thermography has allowed us to identify a cooling strategy, evaporative cooling via the production of fluid droplets, and an overall low body temperature in comparison to the blood temperature during feeding. Understanding Cx. quinquefasciatus' adaptations and the strategies they employ to reduce their body temperature while blood feeding constitutes the first step towards discovering potential targets that could be used for their control.
    Keywords:  Disease vector mosquito; Evaporative cooling; Hematophagy; Heterothermy; Thermal stress; Thermography
  9. Sci Rep. 2021 Feb 25. 11(1): 4555
      Insecticide resistant Aedes populations have recently been reported in Pakistan, imposing a threat to their control. We aimed to evaluate the susceptibility of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus populations from Lahore to WHO-recommended insecticides and to investigate metabolic and target-site resistance mechanisms. For this purpose, we first carried out bioassays with the larvicides temephos and pyriproxyfen, and the adulticides malathion, permethrin, deltamethrin, alpha-cypermethrin, and etofenprox. We looked for Knockdown resistance mutations (kdr) by qPCR, High-Resolution Melt (HRM), and sequencing. In order to explore the role of detoxifying enzymes in resistance, we carried out synergist bioassay with both species and then checked the expression of CYP9M6, CYP9J10, CYP9J28, CYP6BB2, CCAe3a, and SAP2 genes in Ae. aegypti. Both species were susceptible to organophosphates and the insect growth regulator, however resistant to all pyrethroids. We are reporting the kdr haplotypes 1520Ile + 1534Cys and T1520 + 1534Cys in high frequencies in Ae. aegypti while Ae. albopictus only exhibited the alteration L882M. PBO increased the sensitivity to permethrin in Ae. aegypti, suggesting the participation of P450 genes in conferring resistance, and indeed, CYP928 was highly expressed. We presume that dengue vectors in Lahore city are resistant to pyrethroids, probably due to multiple mechanisms, such as kdr mutations and P450 overexpression.
  10. Interface Focus. 2021 Apr 06. 11(2): 20200043
      Many insects can detect carbon dioxide (CO2) plumes using a conserved receptor made up of members of the gustatory receptor (Gr) family Gr1, Gr2 and Gr3. Mosquitoes are attracted to host animals for blood meals using plumes of CO2 in the exhaled breath using the receptor expressed in the A neuron of the capitate peg sensilla type on the maxillary palps. The receptor is known to also detect several other classes of odorants, including ones emitted from human skin. Here, we discover that a common skin odorant, butyric acid, can cause a phasic activation followed by an unusually prolonged tonic activity after the stimulus is over in the CO2 neurons of mosquitoes. The effect is conserved in both Aedes aegypti and Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes. This raises a question about its role in a mosquito's preference for the skin odour of different individuals. Butyric acid belongs to a small number of odorants known to cause the prolonged activation of the CO2 receptor. A chemical informatic analysis identifies a specific set of physico-chemical features that can be used in a machine learning predictive model for the prolonged activators. Interestingly, this set is different from physico-chemical features selected for activators or inhibitors, indicating that each has a distinct structural basis. The structural understanding opens up an opportunity to find novel ligands to manipulate the CO2 receptor and mosquito behaviour.
    Keywords:  CO2; electrophysiology; machine learning; mosquito; olfaction
  11. J Med Entomol. 2021 Feb 25. pii: tjab024. [Epub ahead of print]
      When E.F. Knipling conceived of the release of sexually sterile insects to suppress wild populations, he laid down several fundamental qualities that characterized suitable target species-some of which mosquitoes generally violate-including high reproductive rates and large population numbers. Regardless of this, their global importance in public health has led numerous research teams to attempt to use the mosquito sterile insect technique against several species. Because of the degree of financial commitment required for suppression programs, most releases have consisted of preliminary investigations of male performance, population characteristics, and production methods. Those that have accomplished suppression provide important insights regarding the challenges of production, dispersal, and immigration. Insights gained from these studies remain relevant today, regardless of the genetic control technology being applied. In this article, I highlight studies that were notable for the insights that were gained, the intrinsic difficulties that mosquitoes present, and synthesize these into recommendations for successful applications of the sterile insect technique and newer technologies to mosquitoes.
    Keywords:   Wolbachia ; cytoplasmic incompatibility; late-acting lethal; mosquito control; sexual sterility
  12. PLoS One. 2021 ;16(2): e0246452
      Anopheles mosquitoes are colonized by diverse microorganisms that may impact on host biology and vectorial capacity. Eukaryotic symbionts such as fungi have been isolated from Anopheles, but whether they are stably associated with mosquitoes and transmitted transstadially across mosquito life stages or to subsequent generations remains largely unexplored. Here, we show that a Leptosphaerulina sp. fungus isolated from the midgut of An. gambiae can be stably associated with An. gambiae host and that it imposes low fitness cost when re-introduced through co-feeding. This fungus is transstadially transmitted across An. gambiae developmental stages and to their progeny. It is present in field-caught larvae and adult mosquitoes at moderate levels across geographical regions. We observed that Leptosphaerulina sp. induces a distinctive melanotic phenotype across the developmental stages of mosquito. As a eukaryotic symbiont that is stably associated with An. gambiae Leptosphaerulina sp. can be explored for paratransgenesis.
  13. Sci Rep. 2021 Feb 25. 11(1): 4674
      Classical insect-flaviviruses (cISFVs) and dual host-related insect-specific flavivirus (dISFV) are within the major group of insect-specific flavivirus. Remarkably dISFV are evolutionarily related to some of the pathogenic flavivirus, such as Zika and dengue viruses. The Evolutionary relatedness of dISFV to flavivirus allowed us to investigate the evolutionary principle of host adaptation. Additionally, dISFV can be used for the development of flavivirus vaccines and to explore underlying principles of mammalian pathogenicity. Here we describe the genetic characterization of a novel putative dISFV, termed Guapiaçu virus (GUAPV). Distinct strains of GUAPV were isolated from pools of Aedes terrens and Aedes scapularis mosquitoes. Additionally, we also detected viral GUAPV RNA in a plasma sample of an individual febrile from the Amazon region (North of Brazil). Although GUAPV did not replicate in tested mammalian cells, 3'UTR secondary structures duplication and codon usage index were similar to pathogenic flavivirus.
  14. J Med Entomol. 2021 Feb 22. pii: tjab018. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mosquito surveillance data can be used for predicting mosquito distribution and dynamics as they relate to human disease. Often these data are collected by independent agencies and aggregated to state and national level portals to characterize broad spatial and temporal dynamics. These larger repositories may also share the data for use in mosquito and/or disease prediction and forecasting models. Assumed, but not always confirmed, is consistency of data across agencies. Subtle differences in reporting may be important for development and the eventual interpretation of predictive models. Using mosquito vector surveillance data from Arizona as a case study, we found differences among agencies in how trapping practices were reported. Inconsistencies in reporting may interfere with quantitative comparisons if the user has only cursory familiarity with mosquito surveillance data. Some inconsistencies can be overcome if they are explicit in the metadata while others may yield biased estimates if they are not changed in how data are recorded. Sharing of metadata and collaboration between modelers and vector control agencies is necessary for improving the quality of the estimations. Efforts to improve sharing, displaying, and comparing vector data from multiple agencies are underway, but existing data must be used with caution.
    Keywords:  data sharing; disease prediction; mosquito-borne disease; vector surveillance
  15. PLoS One. 2021 ;16(2): e0247657
      Mass trapping of gravid females represents one promising strategy for the development of sustainable tools against Aedes aegypti. However, this technique requires the development of effective odorant lures that can compete with natural breeding sites. The presence of conspecific larvae has been shown to stimulate oviposition. Hence, we evaluated the role of four major molecules previously identified from Ae. aegypti larvae (isovaleric, myristoleic, myristic [i.e. tetradecanoic], and pentadecanoic acids) on the oviposition of conspecific females, as well as their olfactory perception to evaluate their range of detection. Using flight cage assays, the preference of gravid females to oviposit in water that previously contained larvae (LHW) or containing the four larval compounds was evaluated. Then, compounds and doses inducing the highest stimulation were challenged for their efficacy against LHW. Only isovaleric acid elicited antennal response, suggesting that the other compounds may act as taste cues. Pentadecanoic acid induced significant oviposition stimulation, especially when dosed at 10 ppm. Myristoleic acid and isovaleric acid deterred oviposition at 10 and 100 ppm, while no effect on oviposition was observed with myristic acid irrespectively of the dose tested. When the four compounds were pooled to mimic larvae's chemical signature, they favored oviposition at 1 ppm but negatively affected egg-laying at higher concentrations. When properly dosed, pentadecanoic acid and the blend of compounds may be promising lures for ovitraps as they could compete with LHW. Due to their low volatility, their effect should be further evaluated under field conditions, in addition with long-range attractants for developing effective tools against gravid females.
  16. Nat Commun. 2021 02 23. 12(1): 1233
      Climate drives population dynamics through multiple mechanisms, which can lead to seemingly context-dependent effects of climate on natural populations. For climate-sensitive diseases, such as dengue, chikungunya, and Zika, climate appears to have opposing effects in different contexts. Here we show that a model, parameterized with laboratory measured climate-driven mosquito physiology, captures three key epidemic characteristics across ecologically and culturally distinct settings in Ecuador and Kenya: the number, timing, and duration of outbreaks. The model generates a range of disease dynamics consistent with observed Aedes aegypti abundances and laboratory-confirmed arboviral incidence with variable accuracy (28-85% for vectors, 44-88% for incidence). The model predicted vector dynamics better in sites with a smaller proportion of young children in the population, lower mean temperature, and homes with piped water and made of cement. Models with limited calibration that robustly capture climate-virus relationships can help guide intervention efforts and climate change disease projections.
  17. Sci Rep. 2021 Feb 24. 11(1): 4419
      Koala populations in many areas of Australia have declined sharply in response to habitat loss, disease and the effects of climate change. Koalas may face further morbidity from endemic mosquito-borne viruses, but the impact of such viruses is currently unknown. Few seroprevalence studies in the wild exist and little is known of the determinants of exposure. Here, we exploited a large, spatially and temporally explicit koala survey to define the intensity of Ross River Virus (RRV) exposure in koalas residing in urban coastal environments in southeast Queensland, Australia. We demonstrate that RRV exposure in koalas is much higher (> 80%) than reported in other sero-surveys and that exposure is uniform across the urban coastal landscape. Uniformity in exposure is related to the presence of the major RRV mosquito vector, Culex annulirostris, and similarities in animal movement, tree use, and age-dependent increases in exposure risk. Elevated exposure ultimately appears to result from the confinement of remaining coastal koala habitat to the edges of permanent wetlands unsuitable for urban development and which produce large numbers of competent mosquito vectors. The results further illustrate that koalas and other RRV-susceptible vertebrates may serve as useful sentinels of human urban exposure in endemic areas.