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An affordable, quality-assured community-based system for high-resolution entomological surveillance of vector mosquitoes that reflects human malaria infection risk patterns

Prosper P Chaki12*, Yeromin Mlacha12, Daniel Msellemu13, Athuman Muhili1, Alpha D Malishee1, Zacharia J Mtema14, Samson S Kiware15, Ying Zhou6, Neil F Lobo6, Tanya L Russell17, Stefan Dongus12, Nicodem J Govella12 and Gerry F Killeen12

Author Affiliations

1 Ifakara Health Institute, Coordination Office, Kiko Avenue, Mikocheni, PO Box 78373, Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania

2 Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Vector Group, Pembroke Place, Liverpool L3 5QA, UK

3 London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WCIE 7HT, UK

4 Boyd Orr Centre for Population and Ecosystem Health, College of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK

5 Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881, USA

6 Eck Institute for Global Health, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA

7 James Cook University, School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences, Cairns, 4870, Australia

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Malaria Journal 2012, 11:172  doi:10.1186/1475-2875-11-172

Published: 24 May 2012



More sensitive and scalable entomological surveillance tools are required to monitor low levels of transmission that are increasingly common across the tropics, particularly where vector control has been successful. A large-scale larviciding programme in urban Dar es Salaam, Tanzania is supported by a community-based (CB) system for trapping adult mosquito densities to monitor programme performance.


An intensive and extensive CB system for routine, longitudinal, programmatic surveillance of malaria vectors and other mosquitoes using the Ifakara Tent Trap (ITT-C) was developed in Urban Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and validated by comparison with quality assurance (QA) surveys using either ITT-C or human landing catches (HLC), as well as a cross-sectional survey of malaria parasite prevalence in the same housing compounds.


Community-based ITT-C had much lower sensitivity per person-night of sampling than HLC (Relative Rate (RR) [95% Confidence Interval (CI)] = 0.079 [0.051, 0.121], P < 0.001 for Anopheles gambiae s.l. and 0.153 [0.137, 0.171], P < 0.001 for Culicines) but only moderately differed from QA surveys with the same trap (0.536 [0.406,0.617], P = 0.001 and 0.747 [0.677,0.824], P < 0.001, for An. gambiae or Culex respectively). Despite the poor sensitivity of the ITT per night of sampling, when CB-ITT was compared with QA-HLC, it proved at least comparably sensitive in absolute terms (171 versus 169 primary vectors caught) and cost-effective (153US$ versus 187US$ per An. gambiae caught) because it allowed more spatially extensive and temporally intensive sampling (4284 versus 335 trap nights distributed over 615 versus 240 locations with a mean number of samples per year of 143 versus 141). Despite the very low vectors densities (Annual estimate of about 170 An gambiae s.l bites per person per year), CB-ITT was the only entomological predictor of parasite infection risk (Odds Ratio [95% CI] = 4.43[3.027,7. 454] per An. gambiae or Anopheles funestus caught per night, P =0.0373).

Discussion and conclusion

CB trapping approaches could be improved with more sensitive traps, but already offer a practical, safe and affordable system for routine programmatic mosquito surveillance and clusters could be distributed across entire countries by adapting the sample submission and quality assurance procedures accordingly.