Intransigence of malaria in Malawi: Understanding hidden reservoirs, successful vectors, and prevention failures

International Center of Excellence for Malaria Research (ICEMR) - Malawi

Malawi is a small sub-Saharan African nation where malaria is highly endemic and has resisted global efforts to reduce transmission. Our group investigates the contributions

of asymptomatic and/or untreated carriers of P. falciparum to ongoing transmission. Early findings indicate that school-age children (5 - 15 years old) disproportionately contribute to maintaining high malaria risks in the country.

Selected Publications / Presentations

1. Simulation models predict that school-age children are responsible for most human-to-mosquito Plasmodium falciparum transmission in southern Malawi. Malaria Journal. 2018 Apr 3;17(1):147. PubMed

2. High prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum gametocyte infections in school-age children using sensitive molecular detection: Patterns and predictors of risk from a cross-sectional study in southern Malawi. Malaria Journal. 2016 Nov 4;15(1):527. PubMed

Aedes aegypti in desert cities of the American southwest


Urban development in the Southwestern United States has enabled Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to survive in otherwise hostile desert environments. This project seeks to understand the specific mechanisms that contribute to Aedes aegypti survival/abundance, and thereby increase human residents' susceptibility to outbreaks of diseases like Zika, dengue, and chikungunya. We also aim to evaluate the effects of various vector control strategies on mosquito abundance and longevity in this setting.

Selected Publications / Presentations

1. Human - environment interactions impact Aedes aegypti abundance in an urban desert setting. 18th International Congress on Infectious Diseases; 2018 Mar 1-4; Buenos Aires, Argentina. Presentation.

2. Distribution of the Zika virus vector Aedes aegypti in an urban desert environment. American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 66th Annual Meeting; 2017 Nov 5-9; Baltimore, MD. Poster.

LLINs in Western Kenya

Outstanding barriers to coverage and use of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs)

The overall goal of this project is to determine multi-level social and environmental factors related to bednet ownership and use in two disparate transmission zones in western Kenya. We will translate this information into community-based interventions to improve bednet ownership and use of available bednets.

Selected Publications

1. Santos EM, Coalson JE, Jacobs ET, Klimentidis YC, Munga S, Agawo M, Anderson E, Stroupe N, Ernst KC. Bed net care practices and associated factors in western Kenya. Malaria Journal 2019;18(1):274. Link

2. Coalson JE, Santos EM, Little AC, Anderson EJ, Stroupe N, Agawo M, Hayden M, Munga S, Ernst KC. Insufficient ratio of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLIN) to household members limited universal usage in western Kenya: a 2015 cross-sectional study. Am J Trop Med Hyg 2020 [Epub ahead of print]