Research Press Release

Using wind direction to spot malaria transmission sites

Nature Communications

February 15, 2012

Malaria transmission may be disrupted by targeting the Anopheles mosquito vector breeding sites close to and downwind of malaria hotspots finds a study in Nature Communications this week. Spatial epidemiology studies identify malaria hotspots, which sustain malaria transmission, and targeting these hotspots is therefore an effective method of malaria control. But searches for the larval sites can be labour intensive. This study helps narrow down the search by predicting that homesteads upwind of larval sites are at greater risk of malarial infection. Janet Midega and colleagues studied the association between the spatial location of Anopheles larval sites and the occurrence of malaria in children in a rural area of the Kilifi District in Kenya. Households located closest to larval sites are known to be at greater risk of malaria. The team found that after laying their eggs, female Anophelines fly upwind in search for human hosts and they conclude that targeting vector larval sites in close proximity and downwind to malaria hotspots may therefore lead to more successful malaria control.

DOI:10.1038/ncomms1672 | Original article

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