Using Bayesian state-space models to understand the population dynamics of the dominant malaria vector, Anopheles funestus in rural Tanzania

Ngowo, H. S. , Okumu, F. O. , Hape, E. E., Mshani, I. H., Ferguson, H. M. and Matthiopoulos, J. (2022) Using Bayesian state-space models to understand the population dynamics of the dominant malaria vector, Anopheles funestus in rural Tanzania. Malaria Journal, 21(1), 161. (doi: 10.1186/s12936-022-04189-4) (PMID:35658961) (PMCID:PMC9166306)

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Background: It is often assumed that the population dynamics of the malaria vector Anopheles funestus, its role in malaria transmission and the way it responds to interventions are similar to the more elaborately characterized Anopheles gambiae. However, An. funestus has several unique ecological features that could generate distinct transmission dynamics and responsiveness to interventions. The objectives of this work were to develop a model which will: (1) reconstruct the population dynamics, survival, and fecundity of wild An. funestus populations in southern Tanzania, (2) quantify impacts of density dependence on the dynamics, and (3) assess seasonal fluctuations in An. funestus demography. Through quantifying the population dynamics of An. funestus, this model will enable analysis of how their stability and response to interventions may differ from that of An. gambiae sensu lato. Methods: A Bayesian State Space Model (SSM) based on mosquito life history was fit to time series data on the abundance of female An. funestus sensu stricto collected over 2 years in southern Tanzania. Prior values of fitness and demography were incorporated from empirical data on larval development, adult survival and fecundity from laboratory-reared first generation progeny of wild caught An. funestus. The model was structured to allow larval and adult fitness traits to vary seasonally in response to environmental covariates (i.e. temperature and rainfall), and for density dependency in larvae. The effects of density dependence and seasonality were measured through counterfactual examination of model fit with or without these covariates. Results: The model accurately reconstructed the seasonal population dynamics of An. funestus and generated biologically-plausible values of their survival larval, development and fecundity in the wild. This model suggests that An. funestus survival and fecundity annual pattern was highly variable across the year, but did not show consistent seasonal trends either rainfall or temperature. While the model fit was somewhat improved by inclusion of density dependence, this was a relatively minor effect and suggests that this process is not as important for An. funestus as it is for An. gambiae populations. Conclusion: The model's ability to accurately reconstruct the dynamics and demography of An. funestus could potentially be useful in simulating the response of these populations to vector control techniques deployed separately or in combination. The observed and simulated dynamics also suggests that An. funestus could be playing a role in year-round malaria transmission, with any apparent seasonality attributed to other vector species.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Research, Anopheles funestus, state space model, population dynamic, seasonality, abundance, density dependence.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ngowo, Halfan and Okumu, Professor Fredros and Ferguson, Professor Heather and Mshani, Mr Issa and Matthiopoulos, Professor Jason
Authors: Ngowo, H. S., Okumu, F. O., Hape, E. E., Mshani, I. H., Ferguson, H. M., and Matthiopoulos, J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Malaria Journal
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN (Online):1475-2875
Published Online:03 June 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Authors
First Published:First published in Malaria Journal 21(1):161
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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