UNDERSTANDING MOSQUITO BEHAVIOR TO STOP MALARIA

Updated: Mar 24


mosquito feeding by arm (previous technique)
The establishment of an entomology laboratory at CISM, its challenges and perspectives

25 years ago, the Manhiça Health Research Center (CISM) was created with the aim to 1) make a contribution to the fight against malaria, which was considered one of the main public health problems in the country, and 2) develop research programs that contribute to the advancement of public health knowledge with the idea to inform national but also global policies working e.g., with the World Health Organization (WHO).


At the start, CISM´s malaria research focused more on malaria epidemiology, largely ignoring the mosquito vectros. However in 2014, with the initiation of the MALTEM Program, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and "la Caixa" Foundation, the Center had the opportunity to introduce a new area of knowledge: Entomology.


In general, entomology is the study of insects. At the Center, the entomology laboratory unit focuses on the role of different mosquito species and their behavior in disease transmission to humans, and monitors the effectiveness of vector control tools. This involves surveillance of malaria vectors with the goal of assessing composition, density, feeding and resting behavior (when and where mosquitoes bite and rest), and susceptibility to public health insecticides. In turn, monitoring the effectiveness of vector control tools involves evaluating for example the effectiveness of house spraying as well as insecticide-treated bed nets after they are implemented by the National Malaria Control Program (PNCM) and partners.


Activities other than the aforementioned collection of "entomological intelligence" include (i) the evaluation of complementary vector control tools, such as the impact of larvicides or housing improvements on mosquito abundance, and (ii) the testing of new active ingredients that could be used in the next generation of vector control tools.

Dr. Krijn Paaijmans, Entomology PI, meeting with the team

The Center's entomology team, which currently consists of 28 workers, has been coordinated by Krijn Paaijmans since 2014. He is the Principal Investigator of the unit (also affiliated to ISGLOBAL) and currently an assistant professor at Arizona State University.