Volume 73, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


We conducted a field study in an area of endemic malaria transmission in western Kenya to determine whether mosquitoes that feed on gametocyte-infected blood but do not become infected have reduced or enhanced fecundity in comparison to mosquitoes fed on uninfected blood. Fifteen paired membrane-feeding experiments were conducted in which two strains of mosquitoes were simultaneously fed on either infected blood from children or uninfected control blood from adults. The presence of noninfecting gametocytes in blood increased the probability that would produce eggs after one blood meal by sixfold (odds ratio for control relative to infected blood group 0.16; 95% CI 0.10–0.23). This result could not be explained by variation in blood meal size or hemoglobin content between hosts. When children cleared their infections, the difference in gravidity between mosquitoes fed on their blood and uninfected adults disappeared, suggesting this phenomenon is due to the presence of gametocytes in blood and not to host-specific factors such as age. This result was observed in two mosquito strains that differ in their innate fecundity, suggesting it may apply generally. To our knowledge, this is the first time that has been implicated as enhancing vector gravidity.


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  • Received : 25 May 2004
  • Accepted : 04 Feb 2005

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