The relationship between house height and mosquito house entry: an experimental study in rural Gambia

Majo Carrasco-Tenezaca, Musa Jawara, Mahamed Y. Abdi, John Bradley, Otis Sloan Brittain, Sainey Ceesay, Umberto D’Alessandro, David Jeffries, Margaret Pinder1, Hannah Wood, Jakob B. Knudsen and Steve W. Lindsay

Most malaria infections in sub-Saharan Africa are acquired indoors, thus finding effective ways of preventing mosquito house entry should reduce transmission. Since most malaria mosquitoes fly less than 1 m from the ground, we tested whether raising buildings off the ground would prevent the entry of Anopheles gambiae, the principal African malaria vector, in rural Gambia. Nightly collections of mosquitoes were made using light traps from four inhabited experimental huts, each of which could be moved up or down. Mosquito house entry declined with increasing height, with a hut at 3 m reducing An. gambiae house entry by 84% when compared with
huts on the ground. A propensity for malaria vectors to fly close to the ground and reduced levels of carbon dioxide, a major mosquito attractant, in elevated huts, may explain our findings. Raised buildings may help reduce malaria transmission in Africa.