Background: The complexity of mosquito-borne diseases poses a major challenge to global health efforts to miti- gate their impact on people residing in sub-tropical and tropical regions, to travellers and deployed military person- nel. To supplement drug- and vaccine-based disease control programmes, other strategies are urgently needed, including the direct control of disease vectors. Modern vector control research generally focuses on identifying novel active ingredients and/or innovative methods to reduce human-mosquito interactions. These efforts include the evaluation of spatial repellents, which are compounds capable of altering mosquito feeding behaviour without direct contact with the chemical source.
Methods: This project examined the impact of airborne transfluthrin from impregnated textile materials on two important malaria vectors, Anopheles dirus and Anopheles minimus. Repellency was measured by movement within taxis cages within a semi-field environment at the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hanoi, Vietnam. Knockdown and mortality were measured in adult mosquito bioassay cages. Metered-volume air samples were col- lected at a sub-set of points in the mosquito exposure trial.
Results: Significant differences in knockdown/mortality were observed along a gradient from the exposure source with higher rates of knockdown/mortality at 2 m and 4 m when compared with the furthest distance (16 m). Knock- down/mortality was also greater at floor level and 1.5 m when compared to 3 m above the floor. Repellency was not significantly different except when comparing 2 m and 16 m taxis cages. Importantly, the two species reacted differ- ently to transfluthrin, with An. minimus being more susceptible to knockdown and mortality. The measured concen- trations of airborne transfluthrin ranged from below the limit of detection to 1.32 ng/L, however there were a limited number of evaluable samples complicating interpretation of these results.
Conclusions: This study, measuring repellency, knockdown and mortality in two malaria vectors in Vietnam dem- onstrates that both species are sensitive to airborne transfluthrin. The differences in magnitude of response between the two species requires further study before use in large-scale vector control programmes to delineate how spatial repellency would impact the development of insecticide resistance and the disruption of biting behaviour.