Predicting the impact of outdoor vector control interventions on malaria transmission intensity from semi-field studies

Adrian Denz*, Margaret M. Njoroge, Mgeni M. Tambwe, Clara Champagne, Fredros Okumu, Joop J.A. van Loon, Alexandra Hiscox, Adam Saddler, Ulrike Fillinger, Sarah J. Moore, Nakul Chitnis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Semi-field experiments with human landing catch (HLC) measure as the outcome are an important step in the development of novel vector control interventions against outdoor transmission of malaria since they provide good estimates of personal protection. However, it is often infeasible to determine whether the reduction in HLC counts is due to mosquito mortality or repellency, especially considering that spatial repellents based on volatile pyrethroids might induce both. Due to the vastly different impact of repellency and mortality on transmission, the community-level impact of spatial repellents can not be estimated from such semi-field experiments. Methods: We present a new stochastic model that is able to estimate for any product inhibiting outdoor biting, its repelling effect versus its killing and disarming (preventing host-seeking until the next night) effects, based only on time-stratified HLC data from controlled semi-field experiments. For parameter inference, a Bayesian hierarchical model is used to account for nightly variation of semi-field experimental conditions. We estimate the impact of the products on the vectorial capacity of the given Anopheles species using an existing mathematical model. With this methodology, we analysed data from recent semi-field studies in Kenya and Tanzania on the impact of transfluthrin-treated eave ribbons, the odour-baited Suna trap and their combination (push–pull system) on HLC of Anopheles arabiensis in the peridomestic area. Results: Complementing previous analyses of personal protection, we found that the transfluthrin-treated eave ribbons act mainly by killing or disarming mosquitoes. Depending on the actual ratio of disarming versus killing, the vectorial capacity of An. arabiensis is reduced by 41 to 96% at 70% coverage with the transfluthrin-treated eave ribbons and by 38 to 82% at the same coverage with the push–pull system, under the assumption of a similar impact on biting indoors compared to outdoors. Conclusions: The results of this analysis of semi-field data suggest that transfluthrin-treated eave ribbons are a promising tool against malaria transmission by An. arabiensis in the peridomestic area, since they provide both personal and community protection. Our modelling framework can estimate the community-level impact of any tool intervening during the mosquito host-seeking state using data from only semi-field experiments with time-stratified HLC.[Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number64
JournalParasites and Vectors
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2021


  • Anopheles arabiensis
  • Community-level impact
  • Hierarchical Bayesian model
  • Malaria
  • Outdoor transmission
  • Semi-field experiments
  • Spatial repellent
  • Stochastic modelling
  • Vector control
  • Volatile pyrethroids


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