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Vectors

Any animal that feeds on blood has the potential to transmit or ‘vector' disease. The vectors of human disease tend to be arthropods (e.g. lice, ticks, fleas and flies) and amongst these, the most notorious is the mosquito; repeatedly defined as ‘the most dangerous animal in the world'. The female mosquito feeds on blood to provide the necessary nutrition to allow her eggs to mature, but in the process can inadvertently transmit parasitic diseases such as malaria and filariasis or viruses such as dengue and yellow fever. Mosquitoes tend not to be involved in the transmission of bacterial diseases which are more commonly found in ticks or mites (e.g. Lyme disease).

Amongst the thousands of species of mosquito, however, relatively few actually transmit human disease at a level of concern. Indeed, the control of just three species, Anopheles gambiae (malaria), Aedes aegypti (yellow fever and dengue) and Aedes albopictus (dengue) could have a significant impact on global human mortality and morbidity. By providing accurate maps of the distribution of all of the primary vectors of human disease, vector control can target those species of concern and be tuned to exploit their specific behaviours.

Current projects

VecNet
Vector-Borne Disease Network

December 2012 - November 2015

The increasing incidence of parasite resistance to anti-malarial drugs and insecticide resistant mosquitoes are eroding the effectiveness of the tools we currently have available to combat malaria transmission. This is specifically relevant at a time when global malaria eradication is back on the world's agenda (see malERA). The Vector-Borne Disease Network (VecNet) is a consortium of scientists, modellers and consultants established as a direct response to malERA, to create a platform for malaria transmission/mechanistic models and as a repository of malaria transmission data.

VecNet is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. One of its primary aims is to provide a tool that allows the Foundation to assess the potential effectiveness of proposed vector control methods and help guide the allocation of their resources and to promote the Foundation's goal of malaria eradication. Moreover, using an intuitive user interface, VecNet will facilitate the combination of models and data to allow researchers to achieve a greater understanding of transmission and guide malaria control managers to apply the most appropriate intervention at a given location, depending upon the vector species and their specific behaviours. Within SEEG, VecNet work is led by Catherine Moyes and Marianne Sinka with research assistants, Zhi Huang, Claire Massey and Antoninette Wiebe.

The increasing incidence of parasite resistance to anti-malarial drugs and insecticide resistant mosquitoes are eroding the effectiveness of the tools we currently have available to combat malaria transmission. This is specifically relevant at a time when global malaria eradication is back on the world's agenda (see malERA). The Vector-Borne Disease Network (VecNet) is a consortium of scientists, modellers and consultants established as a direct response to malERA, to create a platform for malaria transmission/mechanistic models and as a repository of malaria transmission data.

VecNet is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. One of its primary aims is to provide a tool that allows the Foundation to assess the potential effectiveness of proposed vector control methods and help guide the allocation of their resources and to promote the Foundation's goal of malaria eradication. Moreover, using an intuitive user interface, VecNet will facilitate the combination of models and data to allow researchers to achieve a greater understanding of transmission and guide malaria control managers to apply the most appropriate intervention at a given location, depending upon the vector species and their specific behaviours. Within SEEG, VecNet work is led by Catherine Moyes and Marianne Sinka with research assistants, Zhi Huang, Claire Massey and Antoninette Wiebe.

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The increasing incidence of parasite resistance to anti-malarial drugs and insecticide resistant mosquitoes are eroding the effectiveness of the tools we currently have available to combat malaria transmission. This is specifically relevant at a...

Read more

Modelling Spatial Variation in Insecticide Resistance in the Anopheles

January 2014 - January 2015

Significant reductions in malaria risk can be achieved by controlling the anopheline malaria vectors that transmit malaria using insecticide-treated bednets and long-lasting insecticide sprays inside housing (indoor residual spraying). The impact of these control measures may, however, be compromised by resistance to the insecticide chemicals within the mosquito populations. Surveys provide valuable information about resistance in defined places, but they do not cover all locations. Working with collaborators at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, we aim to model the spatial variation in resistance to the four major classes of insecticide and the impact of this variation on the effectiveness of control measures in the field. This work is led by Catherine Moyes.

Significant reductions in malaria risk can be achieved by controlling the anopheline malaria vectors that transmit malaria using insecticide-treated bednets and long-lasting insecticide sprays inside housing (indoor residual spraying). The impact of these control measures may, however, be compromised by resistance to the insecticide chemicals within the mosquito populations. Surveys provide valuable information about resistance in defined places, but they do not cover all locations. Working with collaborators at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, we aim to model the spatial variation in resistance to the four major classes of insecticide and the impact of this variation on the effectiveness of control measures in the field. This work is led by Catherine Moyes.

Read less

Significant reductions in malaria risk can be achieved by controlling the anopheline malaria vectors that transmit malaria using insecticide-treated bednets and long-lasting insecticide sprays inside housing (indoor residual spraying). The impact of...

Read more

FIVC
Framework for Integrated Vector Control

November 2012 - September 2014

Vector control activities such as indoor residual spraying and insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) are effective at reducing the incidence of vector-borne diseases. Often vector control will be effective against several vectors and diseases. For example, ITNs distributed to prevent malaria may have the desirable side effect of killing the sandfly and mosquito vectors of leishmaniasis and lymphatic filariasis.

The FIVC project is constructing an evidence-based global framework to guide the integration of vector control across major vector borne diseases. This requires identifying control methods with potential for cross-disease use and regions where the approach could be effective. The FIVC project is based at Durham University, and Nick Golding is working on the sub-grantee section of work at the University of Oxford.

Vector control activities such as indoor residual spraying and insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) are effective at reducing the incidence of vector-borne diseases. Often vector control will be effective against several vectors and diseases. For example, ITNs distributed to prevent malaria may have the desirable side effect of killing the sandfly and mosquito vectors of leishmaniasis and lymphatic filariasis.

The FIVC project is constructing an evidence-based global framework to guide the integration of vector control across major vector borne diseases. This requires identifying control methods with potential for cross-disease use and regions where the approach could be effective. The FIVC project is based at Durham University, and Nick Golding is working on the sub-grantee section of work at the University of Oxford.

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Vector control activities such as indoor residual spraying and insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) are effective at reducing the incidence of vector-borne diseases. Often vector control will be effective against several vectors and diseases. For...

Read more

Anopheles distributions

January 2008 - January 2010

Human malarial protozoa are transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles, which includes more than 460 formally recognised species plus perhaps 50 unnamed members of species complexes. Approximately 70 of these species have the capacity to transmit human malaria parasites and 41 are considered to be dominant vector species/species complexes (DVS), capable of transmitting malaria at a level of major concern to public health. These 41 DVS exhibit variable behaviours and differing ecologies that can affect both the efficiency of their malaria transmission and the effectiveness of current control measures. To apply the most effective vector control therefore, the identity of the vectors occurring in the target area, plus an understanding of their behaviour is required.

We assembled a comprehensive database of occurrence data for the 41 DVS and, combined with a suite of environmental and climatic variables and a niche modelling methodology (Boosted Regression Trees), identified and mapped the fundamental niche of each. These were presented alongside a review of the bionomics of each DVS to help provide a greater understanding of their extent and the range of behaviours encompassed in malaria transmission ecology. The DVS mapping project was led by Marianne Sinka.

Human malarial protozoa are transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles, which includes more than 460 formally recognised species plus perhaps 50 unnamed members of species complexes. Approximately 70 of these species have the capacity to transmit human malaria parasites and 41 are considered to be dominant vector species/species complexes (DVS), capable of transmitting malaria at a level of major concern to public health. These 41 DVS exhibit variable behaviours and differing ecologies that can affect both the efficiency of their malaria transmission and the effectiveness of current control measures. To apply the most effective vector control therefore, the identity of the vectors occurring in the target area, plus an understanding of their behaviour is required.

We assembled a comprehensive database of occurrence data for the 41 DVS and, combined with a suite of environmental and climatic variables and a niche modelling methodology (Boosted Regression Trees), identified and mapped the fundamental niche of each. These were presented alongside a review of the bionomics of each DVS to help provide a greater understanding of their extent and the range of behaviours encompassed in malaria transmission ecology. The DVS mapping project was led by Marianne Sinka.

Read less

Human malarial protozoa are transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles, which includes more than 460 formally recognised species plus perhaps 50 unnamed members of species complexes. Approximately 70 of these species have the capacity to...

Read more