Early morning anopheline mosquito biting, a potential driver of malaria transmission in Busia County, western Kenya

Julius I. Odero, Bernard Abong’o, Vincent Moshi, Sheila Ekodir, Steven A. Harvey, Eric Ochomo, John E. Gimnig, Nicole L. Achee, John P. Grieco, Prisca A. Oria, April Monroe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) contributed significantly to the decline in malaria since 2000. Their protective efficacy depends not only on access, use, and net integrity, but also location of people within the home environment and mosquito biting profiles. Anopheline mosquito biting and human location data were integrated to identify potential gaps in protection and better understand malaria transmission dynamics in Busia County, western Kenya. Methods: Direct observation of human activities and human landing catches (HLC) were performed hourly between 1700 to 0700 h. Household members were recorded as home or away; and, if at home, as indoors/outdoors, awake/asleep, and under a net or not. Aggregated data was analysed by weighting hourly anopheline biting activity with human location. Standard indicators of human-vector interaction were calculated using a Microsoft Excel template. Results: There was no significant difference between indoor and outdoor biting for Anopheles gambiae sensu lato (s.l.) (RR = 0.82; 95% CI 0.65–1.03); significantly fewer Anopheles funestus were captured outdoors than indoors (RR = 0.41; 95% CI 0.25–0.66). Biting peaked before dawn and extended into early morning hours when people began to awake and perform routine activities, between 0400–0700 h for An. gambiae and 0300–0700 h for An. funestus. The study population away from home peaked at 1700–1800 h (58%), gradually decreased and remained constant at 10% throughout the night, before rising again to 40% by 0600–0700 h. When accounting for resident location, nearly all bites within the peri-domestic space (defined as inside household structures and surrounding outdoor spaces) occurred indoors for unprotected people (98%). Using an ITN while sleeping was estimated to prevent 79% and 82% of bites for An. gambiae and An. funestus, respectively. For an ITN user, most remaining exposure to bites occurred indoors in the hours before bed and early morning. Conclusion: While use of an ITN was estimated to prevent most vector bites in this context, results suggest gaps in protection, particularly in the early hours of the morning when biting peaks and many people are awake and active. Assessment of additional human exposure points, including outside of the peri-domestic setting, are needed to guide supplementary interventions for transmission reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number66
JournalMalaria journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024


  • Anopheles
  • Human behavior
  • Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs)
  • Malaria
  • Night-time observation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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