Light traps fail to estimate reliable malaria mosquito biting rates on Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea

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Background: The human biting rate (HBR), an important parameter for assessing malaria transmission and evaluating vector control interventions, is commonly estimated by human landing collections (HLC). Although intense efforts have been made to find alternative non-exposure mosquito collection methods, HLC remains the standard for providing reliable and consistent HBRs. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between human landing and light trap collections (LTC), in an attempt to estimate operationally feasible conversion factors between the two. The study was conducted as part of the operational research component of the Bioko Island Malaria Control Project (BIMCP), Equatorial Guinea. Methods. Malaria mosquitoes were collected indoors and outdoors by HLCs and LTCs in three villages on Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea during five bimonthly collections in 2009. Indoor light traps were suspended adjacent to occupied long-lasting, insecticide-treated bed nets. Outdoor light traps were placed close to the outer wall under the roof of the collection house. Collected specimens were subjected to DNA extraction and diagnostic PCR to identify species within the Anopheles gambiae complex. Data were analysed by simple regression of log-transformed values and by Bayesian regression analysis. Results: There was a poor correlation between the two collection methods. Results varied by location, venue, month, house, but also by the statistical method used. The more robust Bayesian analyses indicated non-linear relationships and relative sampling efficiencies being density dependent for the indoor collections, implying that straight-forward and simple conversion factors could not be calculated for any of the locations. Outdoor LTC:HLC relationships were weak, but could be estimated at 0.10 and 0.07 for each of two locations. Conclusions: Light trap collections in combination with bed nets are not recommended as a reliable method to assess human biting rates on Bioko Island. Different statistical analyses methods give variable and inconsistent results. Substantial variation in collection methods prevents the determination of reliable and operationally feasible conversion factors for both indoor and outdoor data. Until improved mosquito collection methods are developed that can provide reliable and unbiased HBR estimates, HLCs should continue to serve as the reference method for HBR estimation. © 2012 Overgaard et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.




Overgaard, H. J., Sæbø, S., Reddy, M. R., Reddy, V. P., Abaga, S., Matias, A., & Slotman, M. A. (2012). Light traps fail to estimate reliable malaria mosquito biting rates on Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea. Malaria Journal, 11.

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