Currently, interest is resurfacing in the potential of mosquito-based malaria control and the deployment of insecticide-treated bednets (ITN) is now a central feature of plans articulated by the United Nation's Millennium Development Project, WHO's Roll Back Malaria program, and the President's Malaria Initiative. While these programs are certain to gain from prior experience, it is important to acknowledge that the design of these efforts is often based on data dimensions that do not capture landscape variation, mosquito species distribution, or vectors' interactions with the multiple pathogens that they transmit. This leads us to an overall hypothesis that control strategies guided by overly generalized landscape and ecological assessments will not be sufficiently effective against all anthropophagic mosquito species, and will fail to reduce the burden of malaria in high-risk areas. For this Ecology of Infectious Disease (EID) project, our overall objective is to provide insight into the fine- and medium-scale factors that contribute to village-by-village risk differences for mosquito-borne parasite transmission, as modified by intercurrent anthropogenic change and other local environmental factors. Our study design will provide analysis of mosquito-based disease control among villages clustered within scales of < 100 km2 in settings characterized by complex mosquito and mosquito-borne disease ecology. Concurrent, systems-based ecological modeling will evaluate how anthropogenic changes, including deployment of ITN and mass drug administration targeting specific parasite species, will influence Anopheline mosquito vector ecology, distribution of mosquitoes, and transmission of Plasmodium species (malaria) or W. bancrofti (lymphatic filariasis) in the long term. Specific Aims of this project are: 1. Evaluate and map the abundance and distribution of mosquitoes belonging to the A. punctulatus group according to underlying landscape heterogeneity of plant, animal, and human communities in four ecologically different sites in northern PNG. 2. Examine the change in patterns of mosquito and human infection with Plasmodium species and with W. bancrofti in the context of deploying insecticide-treated bednets and in conjunction with parasite-specific mass drug administration (MDA). 3. Promote and strengthen training in infectious diseases ecology for significant public health problems in Papua New Guinea through an established Fogarty International Center Global Infectious Diseases Research Training program.
FOGARTY INTERNATIONAL CENTER