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Keywords:

  • Anopheles farauti;
  • An.punctulatus;
  • mosquitoes;
  • malaria;
  • vector control;
  • sporozoite rates;
  • inoculation rates;
  • sporozoite densities;
  • electrophoresis;
  • ELISA;
  • monoclonal antibodies;
  • Solomon Islands

Abstract. In villages of northern Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, where the predominant malaria vector is An.farauti No. 1 and An. puctulatus is also involved, malaria transmission rates were compared for three zones: (1) non-intervention: 438 people in seventeen villages; (2) residual DDT house-spraying two cycles per year: 644 people in thirty villages; (3) bednets impregnated with permethrin 0.5 g/m2 twice per year, used by 580 people in sixteen villages. Regular DDT spraying in zones 1 and 3 had been withdrawn 18 months previously.

Malariological blood smear surveys of children aged 1-9 years in August 1986 to January 1987 showed a mean-baseline malaria parasite rate of 38% (32/84). By February 1988, 18 months after introduction of impregnated bednets, the Plasmodium falciparum infection rate in children was lowest in the zone using impregnated bednets (21% of 29), intermediate in the untreated zone (29% of 34) and highest in the DDT zone (46% of 53), but these differences were not statistically significant. P.vivax infection rates were 9–14%.

Using ELISA tests for malaria circumsporozoite antigen in the vectors, overall positivity rates were 0.7% of 49,902 An.farauti and 2.54% of 118 An.punctulatus, comprising 228 P.falciparum and 124 P. vivax infections. In the study zones, vector positivity rates were 0.93% of 31,615 An.farauti in the untreated zone; 0.32% of 16, 883 An.farauti in the DDT zone; 0.07% of 1404 An.farauti and 2.54% of 118 An.puctulatus in the impregnated bednet zone. There was no significant correlation between malaria parasite rates in the vectors and the children.

Entomological inoculation rates were consistently highest in the untreated zone (1.6–2.8 infective bites/night), intermediate in the DDT zone (0.8– 1.1/night) and significantly lowest in the bednet zone (0.03-0.23/night). Geometric mean densities of P.falciparum sporozoites were also significantly higher in the DDT zone (50% > 10,000 sporozoites/mosquito compared with 20% in untreated zone). The highest individual infection density was an estimated 52,080 sporozoites of P.falciparum in a specimen of An.punctulatus from the bednet zone. P.vivax sporozoite densities were not significantly different between zones, and both species of vector had similar mean sporozoite loads for both species of malaria.

It is concluded that permethrin-impregnated mosquito nets exerted significantly more impact on vector infectivity and the inoculation rate than resulted from DDT spraying. Even so, the inoculation rate for people in the bednet zone remained at one infective bite every 4–32 days, an insufficient reduction to control malaria without additional countermeasures. Ineffectiveness of house-spraying and the limited impact of impregnated bednets are attributed to exophily and other behavioural aspects of An. farauti.