Using the human blood index to investigate host biting plasticity: a systematic review and meta-regression of the three major African malaria vectors.
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The proportion of mosquito blood-meals that are of human origin, referred to as the 'human blood index' or HBI, is a key determinant of malaria transmission. A systematic review was conducted followed by meta-regression of the HBI for the major African malaria vectors. Evidence is presented for higher HBI among Anopheles gambiae (M/S forms and Anopheles coluzzii/An. gambiae sensu stricto are not distinguished for most studies and, therefore, combined) as well as Anopheles funestus when compared with Anopheles arabiensis (prevalence odds ratio adjusted for collection location [i.e. indoor or outdoor]: 1.62; 95% CI 1.09-2.42; 1.84; 95% CI 1.35-2.52, respectively). This finding is in keeping with the entomological literature which describes An. arabiensis to be more zoophagic than the other major African vectors. However, analysis also revealed that HBI was more associated with location of mosquito captures (R = 0.29) than with mosquito (sibling) species (R = 0.11). These findings call into question the appropriateness of current methods of assessing host preferences among disease vectors and have important implications for strategizing vector control.
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