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Dynamic of autochthonous malaria transmission in the Atlantic Forest: analysis of variation in Anopheles cruzii (Diptera: Culicidae) acrodendrophilic behavior and development of a mathematical model for zoonotic transmission

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Antonio Ralph Medeiros de Sousa
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Saúde Pública
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Mauro Toledo Marrelli; Renato Mendes Coutinho; Gabriel Zorello Laporta; Delsio Natal; Adriano Pinter dos Santos
Advisor: Mauro Toledo Marrelli

The autochthonous Malaria of the Atlantic Forest is characterized by a low incidence of cases with little or no clinical manifestation and low charge of parasites in the blood stream, being Plasmodium vivax (or plasmodiums very similar to it) the main etiologic agent. The main mosquito involved in transmission is the Anopheles (Kerteszia) cruzii, whose immature forms develop in the water held in bromeliads, which are very abundant plants in this biome. The adult forms of An. cruzii prefer to live and feed on the treetops, a behavior known as acrodendrophily, however, in several situations this species has been observed in high density near the ground of the forest. Some evidences suggest that malaria can be transmitted zoonotically in these areas, since monkeys of Atelidae and Cebidae families are found carrying plasmodiums very close to those that infect humans and An. cruzii can feed on the blood of both hosts. This study aimed to investigate the influence of the landscape composition and configuration on the variations in the abundance and acrodendrophic behavior of An. cruzii and how these variations affect the dynamics of malaria transmission in the Atlantic Forest, considering a zoonotic transmission scenario. Monthly entomological collections were conducted from March 2015 to April 2017 in two conservation units located in the municipality of São Paulo, Brazil, where human and simian malaria occurs. In each area, collection points with different degrees of anthropic intervention were selected and mosquitoes were collected using CDC and Shannon traps. Metrics of landscape composition and configuration were measured for each study point and generalized linear models were used to evaluate the relationship between these metrics and variations in abundance and acrodendrophily of An. cruzii. It was proposed a mathematical model of zoonotic transmission that allowed to observe, through simulations, how the dynamics of malaria transmission is influenced by variations in the abundance and acrodendrophily of the vector. The results suggest that loss of natural vegetation and increase in edge effect lead to a reduction in the abundance of An. cruzii but favor a higher activity of this species near the ground level. The analyzes based on the theoretical model corroborate previous observations, pointing out that the variations in the acrodendrophily of the vector may play an important role in the dynamics of plasmodium transmission between monkeys and humans in the Atlantic Forest. In situations in which An. cruzii seeks to feed almost exclusively on the treetops or in situations where it feeds almost exclusively near the ground, the zoonotic transmission does not seem to occur, even in situations of high abundance of the vector. Otherwise, conditions in which An. cruzii moves more frequently between canopy and ground level tend to favor zoonotic transmission, and the more vertical movement occurs, the lower is the needed relative abundance of the vector for an infected monkey to generate more than a new case in the susceptible human population or vice versa. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 15/18630-6 - Study of the dynamics of autochthonous malaria transmission in Atlantic Forest: Analysis of the vertical distribution of Anopheles cruzii (Diptera: Culicidae) and development of mathematical model for zoonotic transmission.
Grantee:Antônio Ralph Medeiros de Sousa
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate