Improving Temperature Specific Data Used to Determine Transmission Risk for Malaria

Temitayo Adanlawo, a Biology major from Howard University, worked with Kerri Miazgowicz in the lab of Dr. Courtney Murdock to study an important disease vector.

Abstract: Malaria is a disease endemic to sub-Saharan Africa, India, southeast Asia and parts of Central and South America, and affects 300-600 million people every year. Malaria is a temperature-sensitive disease that varies between species. Currently, there is a disconnect between malaria transmission risk models and actual malaria incidence. This is due to species temperature-specific data substitution which increases uncertainty in results for the transmission risk equation (R0). In order to increase the accuracy of the temperature-dependent malaria transmission risk equation, a life table study was performed on Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes Using thirty mosquitoes at each of six different temperatures (16 °C, 20 °C, 24 °C, 28 °C, 32 °C, 36 °C), mortality, fecundity, and bite rate were recorded daily. Mosquitoes were given the opportunity to feed for fifteen minutes daily. We used the results of this study to create a thermal performance curve to determine a minimum, optimal, and maximum point for thermally-dependent malaria transmission risk and decrease overall malaria transmission risk uncertainty. Bite rate increased with temperature, as did fecundity. We concluded that the three variables study are, in fact, extremely temperature dependent and that mortality plays a huge role in the development of bite rate and fecundity.

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