bims-mosdis Biomed News
on Mosquito distribution and disease
Issue of 2023‒02‒05
twelve papers selected by
Richard Halfpenny
Staffordshire University

  1. Acta Trop. 2023 Jan 31. pii: S0001-706X(23)00020-7. [Epub ahead of print] 106833
      Mosquito-borne diseases are a major global public health concern and mosquito surveillance systems are essential for the implementation of effective mosquito control strategies. The objective of our study is to determine the spatiotemporal distribution of vector mosquito species in Maricopa County, AZ from 2011 to 2021, and to identify the hotspot areas for West Nile virus (WNV) and St. Louis Encephalitis virus (SLEV) transmission in 2021. The Maricopa County Mosquito Control surveillance system utilizes BG-Sentinel and EVS-CDC traps throughout the entire urban and suburban areas of the county. We estimated specific mosquito species relative abundance per unit area using the Kernel density estimator in ArcGIS 10.2. We calculated the distance between all traps in the surveillance system and created a 4 km buffer radius around each trap to calculate the extent to which each trap deviated from the mean number of Cx. quinquefasciatus and Cx. tarsalis collected in 2021. Our results show that vector mosquito species are widely distributed and abundant in the urban areas of Maricopa County. A total of 691,170 Culex quinquefasciatus, 542,733 Culex tarsalis, and 292,305 Aedes aegypti were collected from 2011 to 2022. The relative abundance of Ae. aegypti was highly seasonal peaking in the third and fourth quarters of the year. Culex quinquefasciatus, on the other hand, was abundant throughout the year with several regions consistently yielding high numbers of mosquitoes. Culex tarsalis was abundant but it only reached high numbers in well-defined areas near irrigated landscapes. We also detected high levels of heterogeneity in the risk of WNV and SLEV transmission to humans disregarding traps geographical proximity. The well-defined species-specific spatiotemporal and geographical patterns found in this study can be used to inform vector control operations.
    Keywords:  Aedes aegypti; Arbovirus; Culex quinquefasciatus; Culex tarsalis
  2. Malar J. 2023 Jan 31. 22(1): 34
      BACKGROUND: The use of urban lowlands for agriculture contributes to the food security of city- dwellers, but promotes malaria transmission. The objective of the study was to characterize the entomological drivers of malaria transmission in two lowlands (N'Gattakro and Odiennekourani) in the city of Bouaké, Côte d'Ivoire.METHODS: The human landing catch technique was used to capture mosquitoes in houses located at the edge of two lowlands in Bouaké from February to December 2019. Cultivated surfaces were calculated monthly in both lowlands for each crop type (rice and market gardening) using images acquired by a drone. The different mosquito species were identified morphologically and by PCR analysis for the Anopheles gambiae complex. Anopheles infection by Plasmodium parasites was assessed by quantitative PCR. Mosquito diversity, biting behaviour and rhythmicity, and malaria transmission were determined in each lowland and compared.
    RESULTS: Anopheles gambiae sensu lato (s.l.) was predominant in N'Gattakro and Culex quinquefasciatus in Odiennekourani. Four Anopheles species were identified: An. gambiae s.l. and Anopheles funestus s.l. in both lowlands, Anopheles pharoensis in N'Gattakro, and Anopheles ziemanni in Odiennekourani. Within the An. gambiae complex, three species were caught: An. gambiae sensu stricto (s.s.), Anopheles coluzzii, and Anopheles arabiensis for the first time in Côte d'Ivoire (30.1%, 69.9% and 0% in N'Gattakro, and 45.1%, 52.6% and 2.4% in Odiennekourani, respectively). Anopheles gambiae s.l. species exhibited a significant exophagic behaviour in N'Gattakro (77.1% of outdoor bites versus 52.2% in Odiennekourani). In N'Gattakro, 12.6% of captures occurred before bedtime (09.00 pm) and after waking up (05.00 am), 15.1% in Odiennekourani. The mean human biting rate was higher in N'Gattakro than in Odiennekourani (61.6 versus 15.5 bites per person per night). Overall, Anopheles infection rate was 0.68%, with 0.539 and 0.029 infected bites per person per night in N'Gattakro and Odiennekourani, respectively.
    CONCLUSION: The risk of malaria in urban agricultural lowland areas is uneven. The role of agricultural developments and irrigation patterns in the production of larval habitat should be explored. The exophagic behaviour of Anopheles vectors raises the question of the residual transmission that needs to be assessed to implement appropriate control strategies.
    Keywords:  Anopheles; Côte d’Ivoire; Lowlands; Malaria risk; Urban agriculture
  3. Acta Trop. 2023 Jan 28. pii: S0001-706X(23)00034-7. [Epub ahead of print]240 106847
      Overwintering capacity is a major step towards establishment of invasive mosquitoes from the tropics in temperate zone areas and one of the main elements determining next seasons' population size that regulates disease transmission of competent invasive vector species. The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus (Skuse) (Diptera: Culiciidae) is an aggressive invasive species that has greatly expanded its geographical boundaries over the last few decades. The species' ability to induce photoperiodic-based egg diapause allows its overwintering in temperate regions, which favors its establishment in higher latitudes. In warmer temperate areas winter survival can be accomplished in the adult stage as well especially in human-made shelters. Aedes albopictus is already showing signs of adaptation to colder climates which may result in disease transmission in new areas. Although the Asian tiger mosquito has invaded Greece since 2003-4, little is known regarding its overwintering capacity in the country, especially as far as adults are regarded. We studied the survival of Ae. albopictus adults during winter in a protected shelter in Athens, the capital city of Greece. The study involved two geographically isolated populations originating from Chania (Crete, most southern part of Greece), and Palaio Faliro (Athens, Central Greece). We exposed different cohorts of F3 adults of the above two populations that emerged from field collected eggs to "winter condition" from November 2018 to beginning of January 2019. in a protected microclimatic environment. Adult mortality was recorded systematically until the death of the last individual in the cohort. Results demonstrated evidence of winter survival of adults for both populations. Longevity of both females and males of the Palaio Faliro population was longer than that of the Chania population for almost all installation dates. Survival curves, regardless of the date of installation, were steeper for females of the Chania population compared to those from Palaio Faliro. In conclusion, overwinter survival of both populations in the adult stage highlights the need for future studies, considering local and microclimatic condition that vary significantly between regions. Winter climatic conditions play vital role in adult survival of this highly important public health species concerning distribution limits and knowledge on winter survival of Ae. albopictus transmitted viruses.
    Keywords:  Adaptation; Culicidae; Overwintering; Vector borne diseases
  4. Parasite Epidemiol Control. 2023 May;21 e00285
      Understanding the contribution of asymptomatic Plasmodium carriers in malaria transmission might be helpful to design and implement new control measures. The present study explored the prevalence of asymptomatic and symptomatic Plasmodium infections (asexual and sexual stages) and the contribution of asymptomatic P. falciparum carriers to Anopheles-mediated malaria transmission in Ouidah (Benin). Thick and thin blood smears were examined from finger-prick blood specimens using light microscopy, and the density of both asexual and sexual stages of Plasmodium species was calculated. Infectivity of gametocyte-infected blood samples to Anopheles gambiae was assessed through direct membrane feeding assays. The prevalence of asymptomatic Plasmodium infections was 28.73% (289/1006). All the asymptomatic gametocyte-carriers (19/19), with gametocytaemia ranging from 10 - 1200 gametocytes/μL of blood, were infectious to An. gambiae mosquitoes. The mean oocyst prevalences varied significantly (χ 2  = 16.42, df = 7, p = 0.02) among laboratory mosquito strains (6.9 - 39.4%) and near-field mosquitoes (4.9 - 27.2%). Likewise, significant variation (χ 2  = 56.85, df = 7, p = 6.39 × 10-10) was observed in oocyst intensity. Our findings indicate that asymptomatic Plasmodium carriers could significantly contribute to malaria transmission. Overall, this study highlights the importance of diagnosing and treating asymptomatic and symptomatic infection carriers during malaria control programmes.
    Keywords:  An. gambiae; An., Anopheles; Asymptomatic; CX, Carbamates; DDT, Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane; DMFAs, Direct membrane feeding assays; G119S, Glycine substitution by Serine at codon 119; Gametocyte; IPT, Intermittent Preventive Therapy; IRS, Indoor residual spraying; ITNs, Insecticide-treated bed nets; L1014F, Leucine substitution by Phenylalanine at codon 1014; MDA, Mass Drug Administration; MSaT, Mass Screening and Treatment; NMCP, National Malaria Control Programme; OP, Organophosphates; PYR, Pyrethroids; Plasmodium falciparum; Transmission; USA, United States of America; WBCs, White blood cells; WHO, Word Health Organization; s.l., sensu lato; s.s., sensu stricto; spp., species
  5. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2023 Jan 30. 17(1): e0011091
      BACKGROUND: The elimination of lymphatic filariasis (LF) from Brazil by 2020 was not accomplished; however, this goal can be achieved in the upcoming years with the assistance of specific strategies. The surveillance of LF can be performed using molecular xenomonitoring (MX), a noninvasive method used to infer the presence of the parasite in the human population. Herein, São Luís (state of Maranhão) was the first city to be investigated to identify whether LF transmission in Brazil has been interrupted and if there were any new incursions.METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Mosquitoes were collected by aspiration at 901 points distributed among 11 neighborhoods in São Luís with records of patients with microfilaremia. Pools of engorged or gravid Culex quinquefasciatus females were evaluated by WbCx duplex PCR with endogenous control for mosquitoes and target for W. bancrofti for determining the vector infection rate. Among the 10,428 collected mosquitoes, the most abundant species were C. quinquefasciatus (85%) and Aedes aegypti (12%). Significantly larger numbers of mosquitoes were collected from the neighborhoods of Areinha and Coreia (p<0.05). MX performed using PCR validated 705 pools of engorged or gravid females, fifteen of which were positive for Wuchereria bancrofti in two neighborhoods.
    CONCLUSIONS: The high density of engorged C. quinquefasciatus females per home, inadequate sanitation, and detection of W. bancrofti-infected mosquitoes in the city of São Luís represent a warning of the possible upsurge of LF, a disease that is still neglected; this underscores the need for the ostensive monitoring of LF in Brazil.
  6. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2022 ;12 1106369
      Naturally acquired antibodies may reduce the transmission of Plasmodium gametocytes to mosquitoes. Here, we investigated associations between antibody prevalence and P. vivax infectivity to mosquitoes. A total of 368 microscopy confirmed P. vivax symptomatic patients were passively recruited from health centers in Ethiopia and supplemented with 56 observations from asymptomatic P. vivax parasite carriers. Direct membrane feeding assays (DMFA) were performed to assess mosquito infectivity; for selected feeds these experiments were also performed after replacing autologous plasma with malaria naïve control serum (n=61). The prevalence of antibodies against 6 sexual stage antigens (Pvs47, Pvs48/45, Pvs230, PvsHAP2, Pvs25 and PvCelTOS) and an array of asexual antigens was determined by ELISA and multiplexed bead-based assays. Gametocyte (ρ< 0.42; p = 0.0001) and parasite (ρ = 0.21; p = 0.0001) densities were positively associated with mosquito infection rates. Antibodies against Pvs47, Pvs230 and Pvs25 were associated with 23 and 34% reductions in mosquito infection rates (p<0.0001), respectively. Individuals who showed evidence of transmission blockade in serum-replacement DMFAs (n=8) were significantly more likely to have PvsHAP2 or Pvs47 antibodies. Further studies may demonstrate causality for the observed associations, improve our understanding of the natural transmission of P. vivax and support vaccine development.
    Keywords:  Plasmodium vivax; anopheles; gametocyte; immunity; malaria; transmission; transmission-blocking; vaccine
  7. PNAS Nexus. 2022 Sep;1(4): pgac190
      Conventional mosquito marking technology for mark-release-recapture (MRR) is quite limited in terms of information capacity and efficacy. To overcome both challenges, we have engineered, lab-tested, and field-evaluated a new class of marker particles, in which synthetic, short DNA oligonucleotides (DNA barcodes) are adsorbed and protected within tough, crosslinked porous protein microcrystals. Mosquitoes self-mark through ingestion of microcrystals in their larval habitat. Barcoded microcrystals persist trans-stadially through mosquito development if ingested by larvae, do not significantly affect adult mosquito survivorship, and individual barcoded mosquitoes are detectable in pools of up to at least 20 mosquitoes. We have also demonstrated crystal persistence following adult mosquito ingestion. Barcode sequences can be recovered by qPCR and next-generation sequencing (NGS) without detectable amplification of native mosquito DNA. These DNA-laden protein microcrystals have the potential to radically increase the amount of information obtained from future MRR studies compared to previous studies employing conventional mosquito marking materials.
    Keywords:  host-guest crystals; mark–release–recapture; mosquito surveillance; porous protein crystals; vector biology
  8. Infect Dis Poverty. 2023 Jan 28. 12(1): 2
      BACKGROUND: Myanmar bears the heaviest malaria burden in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). This study assessed the spatio-temporal dynamics and environmental predictors of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax malaria in Myanmar.METHODS: Monthly reports of malaria cases at primary health centers during 2011-2017 were analyzed to describe malaria distribution across Myanmar at the township and state/region levels by spatial autocorrelation (Moran index) and spatio-temporal clustering. Negative binomial generalized additive models identified environmental predictors for falciparum and vivax malaria, respectively.
    RESULTS: From 2011 to 2017, there was an apparent reduction in malaria incidence in Myanmar. Malaria incidence peaked in June each year. There were significant spatial autocorrelation and clustering with extreme spatial heterogeneity in malaria cases and test positivity across the nation (P < 0.05). Areas with higher malaria incidence were concentrated along international borders. Primary clusters of P. falciparum persisted in western townships, while clusters of P. vivax shifted geographically over the study period. The primary cluster was detected from January 2011 to December 2013 and covered two states (Sagaing and Kachin). Annual malaria incidence was highest in townships with a mean elevation of 500‒600 m and a high variance in elevation (states with both high and low elevation). There was an apparent linear relationship between the mean normalized difference vegetative index and annual P. falciparum incidence (P < 0.05).
    CONCLUSION: The decreasing trends reflect the significant achievement of malaria control efforts in Myanmar. Prioritizing the allocation of resources to high-risk areas identified in this study can achieve effective disease control.
    Keywords:  Environmental predictor; Myanmar; Plasmodium falciparum; Plasmodium vivax; Spatial distribution; Spatiotemporal clustering; Temporal clustering
  9. Malar J. 2023 Feb 02. 22(1): 37
      BACKGROUND: Border malaria is a major obstacle for the malaria elimination in Saudi Arabia. Today, the southern border of Saudi Arabia is a region where malaria cases are resurging, and malaria control is dwindling mainly due to the humanitarian crisis and the conflict in Yemen. This study analyses the current border malaria epidemiology along the southern border of Saudi Arabia from 2015 to 2018.METHODS: All reported cases maintained by the malaria elimination centres in Aledabi and Baish, Jazan Province, Saudi Arabia, from 2015 to 2018 were analysed to examine the epidemiological changes over time. Pearson's Chi-Square test of differences was utilized to assess differences between the characteristics of imported and local causes and between border cases. A logistic regression model was used to predict imported status was related to living along side of the border area.
    RESULTS: A total of 3210 malaria cases were reported in Baish and Aledabi malaria centres between 2015 and 2018, of which 170 were classified as local cases and 3040 were classified as imported cases. Reported malaria cases were mainly among males, within the imported cases 61.5% (1868/3039) were residents of the border areas.
    CONCLUSIONS: Given the complexity of cross-border malaria, creating a malaria buffer zone that covers a certain margin from both sides of the border would allow for a joint force, cross-border malaria elimination programme. To initiate a malaria elimination activity and cases reported as belonging to this zone, rather than being pushed from one country to the other, would allow malaria elimination staff to work collaboratively with local borderland residents and other stakeholders to come up with innovative solutions to combat malaria and reach malaria-free borders.
    Keywords:  Border malaria; Human movements; Malaria; Saudi Arabia
  10. PLoS One. 2023 ;18(2): e0273798
    Proyecto Dengue Group
      Current knowledge of dengue virus (DENV) transmission provides only a partial understanding of a complex and dynamic system yielding a public health track record that has more failures than successes. An important part of the problem is that the foundation for contemporary interventions includes a series of longstanding, but untested, assumptions based on a relatively small portion of the human population; i.e., people who are convenient to study because they manifest clinically apparent disease. Approaching dengue from the perspective of people with overt illness has produced an extensive body of useful literature. It has not, however, fully embraced heterogeneities in virus transmission dynamics that are increasingly recognized as key information still missing in the struggle to control the most important insect-transmitted viral infection of humans. Only in the last 20 years have there been significant efforts to carry out comprehensive longitudinal dengue studies. This manuscript provides the rationale and comprehensive, integrated description of the methodology for a five-year longitudinal cohort study based in the tropical city of Iquitos, in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon. Primary data collection for this study was completed in 2019. Although some manuscripts have been published to date, our principal objective here is to support subsequent publications by describing in detail the structure, methodology, and significance of a specific research program. Our project was designed to study people across the entire continuum of disease, with the ultimate goal of quantifying heterogeneities in human variables that affect DENV transmission dynamics and prevention. Because our study design is applicable to other Aedes transmitted viruses, we used it to gain insights into Zika virus (ZIKV) transmission when during the project period ZIKV was introduced and circulated in Iquitos. Our prospective contact cluster investigation design was initiated by detecttion of a person with a symptomatic DENV infection and then followed that person's immediate contacts. This allowed us to monitor individuals at high risk of DENV infection, including people with clinically inapparent and mild infections that are otherwise difficult to detect. We aimed to fill knowledge gaps by defining the contribution to DENV transmission dynamics of (1) the understudied majority of DENV-infected people with inapparent and mild infections and (2) epidemiological, entomological, and socio-behavioral sources of heterogeneity. By accounting for factors underlying variation in each person's contribution to transmission we sought to better determine the type and extent of effort needed to better prevent virus transmission and disease.
  11. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2023 Jan 31.
      PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Dengue is the most important arthropod-borne viral disease of public health significance. Its geographic distribution includes 128 countries worldwide, affecting 390 million people every year causing significant morbidity and mortality in children and adults everywhere.RECENT FINDINGS: In the past, severe dengue affected mostly adults in the Americas; this scenario has changed and now cases of dengue, severe dengue, and dengue deaths have increased in children under 15 years in Brazil and in Colombia. Dengue and COVID-19 co-infections have been reported in South America, with increased hospitalization. A dengue vaccine for 9-year-old children and older children and adults who have serological evidence of previous dengue has been licensed in many countries; a different dengue vaccine trial for 4-16-year-old children has demonstrated decrease in clinical dengue and decrease in dengue hospitalizations.
    SUMMARY: There is no specific treatment of dengue, and a changing climate, insecticide resistance and urban expansion have permitted the vector's spread, making the vector control almost impossible. The hope for dengue control relies on vaccine development; there is important research on this area with one vaccine already licensed and another one showing promising results.
  12. Malar J. 2023 Feb 03. 22(1): 42
      BACKGROUND: In malaria endemic regions, transmission of Plasmodium falciparum parasites is often seasonal with very low transmission during the dry season and high transmission in the wet season. Parasites survive the dry season within some individuals who experience prolonged carriage of parasites and are thought to 'seed' infection in the next transmission season.METHODS: Dry season carriers and their role in the subsequent transmission season are characterized using a combination of mathematical simulations and data analysis of previously described data from a longitudinal study in Mali of individuals aged 3 months-12 years (n = 579).
    RESULTS: Simulating the life-history of individuals experiencing repeated exposure to infection predicts that dry season carriage is more likely in the oldest, most exposed and most immune individuals. This hypothesis is supported by the data from Mali, which shows that carriers are significantly older, experience a higher biting rate at the beginning of the transmission season and develop clinical malaria later than non-carriers. Further, since the most exposed individuals in a community are most likely to be dry season carriers, this is predicted to enable a more than twofold faster spread of parasites into the mosquito population at the start of the subsequent wet season.
    CONCLUSIONS: Carriage of malaria parasites over the months-long dry season in Mali is most likely in the older, more exposed and more immune children. These children may act as super-spreaders facilitating the fast spread of parasites at the beginning of the next transmission season.
    Keywords:  Mali; Parasite carriage; Plasmodium falciparum; Seasonal transmission; Within-host model