Motivated by the fact that understanding the dynamics of disease vector is crucial to understanding the transmission and control of the VBDs they cause, a novel weather-driven deterministic model for the population biology of the mosquito is formulated and rigorously analyzed. Numerical simulations, using relevant weather and entomological data for Anopheles mosquito (the vector for malaria), show that maximum mosquito abundance occurs when temperature and rainfall values lie in the range [20-25]C and [105-115] mm, respectively.
The Anopheles mosquito ecology model is extended to incorporate human dynamics. The resulting weather-driven malaria transmission model, which includes many of the key aspects of malaria (such as disease transmission by asymptomatically-infectious humans, and enhanced malaria immunity due to repeated exposure), was rigorously analyzed. The model which also incorporates the effect of diurnal temperature range (DTR) on malaria transmission dynamics shows that increasing DTR shifts the peak temperature value for malaria transmission from 29C (when DTR is 0C) to about 25C (when DTR is 15C).
Finally, the malaria model is adapted and used to study the transmission dynamics of chikungunya, dengue and Zika, three diseases co-circulating in the Americas caused by the same vector (Aedes aegypti). The resulting model, which is fitted using data from Mexico, is used to assess a few hypotheses (such as those associated with the possible impact the newly-released dengue vaccine will have on Zika) and the impact of variability in climate variables on the dynamics of the three diseases. Suitable temperature and rainfall ranges for the maximum transmission intensity of the three diseases are obtained.
Hundreds of thousands of people die annually from malaria; a protozoan of the genus Plasmodium is responsible for this mortality. The Plasmodium parasite undergoes several life stages within the mosquito vector, the transition between which require passage across the lumen of the mosquito midgut. It has been observed that in about 15% of parasites that develop ookinetes in the mosquito abdomen, sporozoites never develop in the salivary glands, indicating that passage across the midgut lumen is a significant barrier in parasite development (Gamage-Mendis et al., 1993). We aim to investigate a possible correlation between passage through the midgut lumen and drug-resistance trends in Plasmodium falciparum parasites. This study contains a total of 1024 Anopheles mosquitoes: 187 Anopheles gambiae and 837 Anopheles funestus samples collected in high malaria transmission areas of Mozambique between March and June of 2016. Sanger sequencing will be used to determine the prevalence of known resistance alleles for anti-malarial drugs: chloroquine resistance transporter (pfcrt), multidrug resistance (pfmdr1) gene, dihydropteroate synthase (pfdhps) and dihydrofolate reductase (pfdhfr). We compare prevalence of resistance between abdomen and head/thorax in order to determine whether drug resistant parasites are disproportionately hindered during their passage through the midgut lumen. A statistically significant difference between resistance alleles in the two studied body sections supports the efficacy of new anti-malarial gene surveillance strategies in areas of high malaria transmission.