Publications & Reports

Nonrandom Selection and Multiple Blood Feeding of Human Hosts by Anopheles Vectors: Implications for Malaria Transmission in Papua New Guinea.

Keven JB, Katusele M, Vinit R, Rodríguez-Rodríguez D, Hetzel MW, Robinson LJ, Laman M, Karl S, Foran DR, Walker ED
Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, and Department of Entomology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.


Nonrandom selection and multiple blood feeding of human hosts by Anopheles mosquitoes may exacerbate malaria transmission. Both patterns of blood feeding and their relationship to malaria epidemiology were investigated in Anopheles vectors in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Blood samples from humans and mosquito blood meals were collected in villages and human genetic profiles (“fingerprints”) were analyzed by genotyping 23 microsatellites and a sex-specific marker. Frequency of blood meals acquired from different humans, identified by unique genetic profiles, was fitted to Poisson and negative binomial distributions to test for nonrandom patterns of host selection. Blood meals with more than one genetic profiles were classified as mosquitoes that fed on multiple humans. The age of a person bitten by a mosquito was determined by matching the blood-meal genetic profile to the villagers' genetic profiles. Malaria infection in humans was determined by PCR test of blood samples. The results show nonrandom distribution of blood feeding among humans, with biased selection toward males and individuals aged 15-30 years. Prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum infection was higher in this age group, suggesting males in this age range could be super-spreaders of malaria parasites. The proportion of mosquitoes that fed on multiple humans ranged from 6% to 13% among villages. The patterns of host utilization observed here can amplify transmission and contribute to the persistence of malaria in PNG despite efforts to suppress it with insecticidal bed nets. Excessive feeding on males aged 15-30 years underscores the importance of targeted interventions focusing on this demographic group.

Link to publisher’s web site


  • Journal: The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
  • Published: 27/09/2021
  • Volume: Epub ahead of print