Journal Article

Adult vector control, mosquito ecology and malaria transmission

Oliver J. Brady, H. Charles J. Godfray, Andrew J. Tatem, Peter W. Gething, Justin M. Cohen, F. Ellis McKenzie, T. Alex Perkins, Robert C. Reiner, Lucy S. Tusting, Thomas W. Scott, Steven W. Lindsay, Simon I. Hay and David L. Smith

in International Health

Published on behalf of Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

Volume 7, issue 2, pages 121-129
Published in print March 2015 | ISSN: 1876-3413
Published online February 2015 | e-ISSN: 1876-3405 | DOI:

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Standard advice regarding vector control is to prefer interventions that reduce the lifespan of adult mosquitoes. The basis for this advice is a decades-old sensitivity analysis of ‘vectorial capacity’, a concept relevant for most malaria transmission models and based solely on adult mosquito population dynamics. Recent advances in micro-simulation models offer an opportunity to expand the theory of vectorial capacity to include both adult and juvenile mosquito stages in the model.


In this study we revisit arguments about transmission and its sensitivity to mosquito bionomic parameters using an elasticity analysis of developed formulations of vectorial capacity.


We show that reducing adult survival has effects on both adult and juvenile population size, which are significant for transmission and not accounted for in traditional formulations of vectorial capacity. The elasticity of these effects is dependent on various mosquito population parameters, which we explore. Overall, control is most sensitive to methods that affect adult mosquito mortality rates, followed by blood feeding frequency, human blood feeding habit, and lastly, to adult mosquito population density.


These results emphasise more strongly than ever the sensitivity of transmission to adult mosquito mortality, but also suggest the high potential of combinations of interventions including larval source management. This must be done with caution, however, as policy requires a more careful consideration of costs, operational difficulties and policy goals in relation to baseline transmission.

Keywords: Larval control; Malaria control policy; Micro-simulation models; Plasmodium falciparum; Plasmodium vivax; Vectorial capacity

Journal Article.  5737 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Community Medical Services

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