Targeting residual malaria vectors in areas where long-lasting insecticide treated nets are already widely used
Common malaria interventions, notably insecticidal bed nets have significantly reduced disease, by tackling important malaria mosquitoes, especially those that bite people indoors and rest indoors. However, malaria still causes nearly 430,000 deaths annually, mostly African children. This persistent malaria is increasingly acquired from mosquitoes that bite people outside dwellings, can survive on blood from other vertebrates like cattle, are not readily controlled by indoor interventions like bed nets, and are not easily detectable by existing traps.
Vector surveillance still relies on dangerous and costly methods involving human volunteers; so first, we should introduce simpler, safer and scalable methods. Second, we still do not adequately understand many of these residual mosquitoes, because existing sampling strategies do not capture their atypical behaviours. Lastly, we need more targeted resource allocation, especially since residual transmission is often unevenly distributed. The aim of this project is to develop a low-cost strategy for monitoring densities and transmission activity of residual vector populations that perpetuate malaria transmission in communities where LLINs are widely used, so as to improve targeting of interventions towards elimination. The work also includes demonstrating effective replacement for human volunteers in mosquito surveillance and developing low-cost strategies for large-scale longitudinal monitoring. The field data is then extrapolated using cutting-age mathematical approaches originally developed by theoretical ecologists, to target residual vectors.