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Background: Quantifying mosquito biting rates for specific locations enables estimation of mosquito-borne disease risk, and can inform intervention efforts. Measuring biting itself is fraught with ethical concerns, so the landing rate of mosquitoes on humans is often used as a proxy measure. Southern coastal Ecuador was historically endemic for malaria (Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax), although successful control efforts in the 2000s eliminated autochthonous transmission (since 2011). This study presents an analysis of data collected during the elimination period. Methods: Human landing catch (HLC) data for three mosquito taxa: two malaria vectors, Anopheles albimanus and Anopheles punctimacula, and grouped Culex spp. were examined for this study. These data were collected by the National Vector Control Service of the Ministry of Health over a 5-year time span (2007-2012) in five cities in southern coastal Ecuador, at multiple households, in all months of the year, during dusk-dawn (18:00-6:00) hours, often at both indoor and outdoor locations. Hurdle models were used to determine if biting activity was fundamentally different for the three taxa, and to identify spatial and temporal factors influencing bite rate. Due to the many different approaches to studying and quantifying bite rates in the literature, a glossary of terms was created, to facilitate comparative studies in the future. Results: Biting trends varied significantly with species and time. All taxa exhibited exophagic feeding behavior, and outdoor locations increased both the odds and incidence of bites across taxa. Anopheles albimanus was most frequently observed biting, with an average of 4.7 bites/h. The highest and lowest respective months for significant biting activity were March and July for An. albimanus, July and August for An. punctimacula, and February and July for Culex spp. Conclusions: Fine-scale differences in endophagy and exophagy, and temporal differences among months and hours exist in biting patterns among mosquito taxa in southern coastal Ecuador. This analysis provides detailed information for targeting vector control activities, and household level vector prevention strategies. These data were collected as part of routine vector surveillance conducted by the Ministry of Health, and such data have not been collected since. Reinstating such surveillance measures would provide important information to aid in preventing malaria re-emergence.
Ryan, S. J., Lippi, C. A., Boersch-Supan, P. H., Heydari, N., Silva, M., Adrian, J., … Stewart-Ibarra, A. M. (2017). Quantifying seasonal and diel variation in Anopheline and Culex human biting rates in Southern Ecuador. Malaria Journal, 16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12936-017-2121-4