Background. Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) are an important tool for malaria control. ITNs are effective because they work on several parts of the mosquito feeding cycle, including both adult killing and repelling effects. Methods. Using an elaborated description of the classic feeding cycle model, simple formulas have been derived to describe how ITNs change mosquito behaviour and the intensity of malaria transmission, as summarized by vectorial capacity and EIR. The predicted changes are illustrated as a function of the frequency of ITN use for four different vector populations using parameter estimates from the literature. Results. The model demonstrates that ITNs simultaneously reduce mosquitoes' lifespans, lengthen the feeding cycle, and by discouraging human biting divert more bites onto non-human hosts. ITNs can substantially reduce vectorial capacity through small changes to all of these quantities. The total reductions in vectorial capacity differ, moreover, depending on baseline behavior in the absence of ITNs. Reductions in lifespan and vectorial capacity are strongest for vector species with high baseline survival. Anthropophilic and zoophilic species are affected differently by ITNs; the feeding cycle is lengthened more for anthrophilic species, and the proportion of bites that are diverted onto non-human hosts is higher for zoophilic species. Conclusion. This model suggests that the efficacy of ITNs should be measured as a total reduction in transmission intensity, and that the quantitative effects will differ by species and by transmission intensity. At very high rates of ITN use, ITNs can generate large reductions in transmission intensity that could provide very large reductions in transmission intensity, and effective malaria control in some areas, especially when used in combination with other control measures. At high EIR, ITNs will probably not substantially reduce the parasite rate, but when transmission intensity is low, reductions in vectorial capacity combine with reductions in the parasite rate to generate very large reductions in EIR.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases