Seasonal and spatial dynamics of the primary vector of plasmodium knowlesi within a major transmission focus in Sabah, Malaysia

Wong, M. L., Chua, T. H., Leong, C. S., Khaw, L. T., Fornace, K. , Wan-Sulaiman, W.-Y., William, T., Drakeley, C., Ferguson, H. M. and Vythilingam, I. (2015) Seasonal and spatial dynamics of the primary vector of plasmodium knowlesi within a major transmission focus in Sabah, Malaysia. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 9(10), e0004135. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004135) (PMID:26448052) (PMCID:PMC4598189)

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Background The simian malaria parasite Plasmodium knowlesi is emerging as a public health problem in Southeast Asia, particularly in Malaysian Borneo where it now accounts for the greatest burden of malaria cases and deaths. Control is hindered by limited understanding of the ecology of potential vector species. Methodology/Principal Findings We conducted a one year longitudinal study of P. knowlesi vectors in three sites within an endemic area of Sabah, Malaysia. All mosquitoes were captured using human landing catch. Anopheles mosquitoes were dissected to determine, oocyst, sporozoites and parous rate. Anopheles balabacensis is confirmed as the primary vector of. P. knowlesi (using nested PCR) in Sabah for the first time. Vector densities were significantly higher and more seasonally variable in the village than forest or small scale farming site. However An. balabacensis survival and P. knowlesi infection rates were highest in forest and small scale farm sites. Anopheles balabacensis mostly bites humans outdoors in the early evening between 1800 to 2000hrs. Conclusions/Significance This study indicates transmission is unlikely to be prevented by bednets. This combined with its high vectorial capacity poses a threat to malaria elimination programmes within the region. Author Summary The first natural infection of Plasmodium knowlesi was reported 40 years ago. At that time it was perceived that the infection would not affect humans. However, now P. knowlesi is the predominant malaria species (38% of the cases) infecting people in Malaysia and is a notable obstacle to malaria elimination in the country. Plasmodium knowlesi has also been reported from all countries in Southeast Asia with the exception of Lao PDR and Timor Leste. In Sabah, Malaysian Borneo cases of human P. knowlesi are increasing. Thus, a comprehensive understanding of the bionomics of the vectors is required so as to enable proper control strategies. Here, we conducted a longitudinal study in Kudat district, Sabah, to determine and characterize the vectors of P. knowlesi within this transmission foci. Anopheles balabacensis was the predominant mosquito in all study sites and is confirmed as vector for P. knowlesi and other simian malaria parasites. The peak biting time was in the early part of the evening between1800 to 2000. Thus, breaking the chain of transmission is an extremely challenging task for the malaria elimination programme.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Fornace, Dr Kimberly and Ferguson, Professor Heather
Authors: Wong, M. L., Chua, T. H., Leong, C. S., Khaw, L. T., Fornace, K., Wan-Sulaiman, W.-Y., William, T., Drakeley, C., Ferguson, H. M., and Vythilingam, I.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN (Online):1935-2735
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 Wong et al.
First Published:First published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 9(10):e0004135
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
538423Defining the biomedical, environmental and social risk factors for human infection with Plasmodium knowlesi (a.k.a. 'Monkeybar')Heather FergusonMedical Research Council (MRC)G1100796/1RI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED