Comparison of direct and membrane feeding methods to infect Anopheles arabiensis with Plasmodium falciparum.

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  • 1 Laboratoire de Paludologie, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Dakar, Sénégal.

Two standard methods are available to infect mosquitoes with malaria parasites: direct feeding through the skin of the gametocyte carrier, and membrane feeding. Anopheles arabiensis collected at larval stages and reared in an insectary were fed in parallel by feeding on Plasmodium falciparum gametocyte carriers and by membrane feeding on venous blood of the same gametocyte carriers. Infection of mosquitoes was assessed at Day 7 post bloodmeal by oocyst count of the mosquito midguts. The following parameters were not significantly different between the two methods: the percentage of gametocyte carriers infective for at least one mosquito (52.4% through the skin versus 57.1% through the membrane), the mean infection rate of mosquitoes (10.0% versus 11.3%), the geometric mean oocyst number per mosquito (2.51 versus 3.83). In conclusion, infection of mosquitoes by membrane feeding was similar to infection by direct feeding. Most of the volunteers preferred venipuncture to mosquito bites.