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Infectivity of Symptomatic Patients and Their Contribution for Infectiousness of Mosquitoes following a Membrane Feeding Assay in Ethiopia

  • Abate, Andargie
  • Kedir, Soriya
  • Bose, Mitiku
  • Hassen, Jifar
  • Dembele, Laurent
  • Golassa, Lemu
Published Article
Microbiology Spectrum
American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
Sep 06, 2022
DOI: 10.1128/spectrum.00628-22
ASM Journals


The membrane feeding assay is widely used to evaluate the efficacy of transmission-blocking interventions (TBIs) and identify the reservoir of malaria. This study aimed to determine the infectivity of blood meals from symptomatic Plasmodium-infected patients to an Anopheles arabiensis colony in Ethiopia. A membrane feeding assay was conducted on a total of 63 Plasmodium falciparum- and/or Plasmodium vivax-infected clinical patients in East Shoa Zone, Ethiopia. Detection of P. falciparum and P. vivax in blood samples was done using microscopy. Mosquito infection rates were determined by dissection of mosquitoes’ midguts, while mosquito infectiousness was observed by dissection of their salivary glands. The proportion of infectious symptomatic patients was 68.3% (43/63). Using the chi-square or Fisher’s exact test, the oocyst infection levels were higher among patients infected with P. vivax, females, and rural residents. Nearly 57% (56.7%, 17/30) of assays produced sporozoites in the salivary glands of mosquitoes. Both oocyst and sporozoite infection rates had positive correlations with parasitemia and gametocytemia. High infectiousness of symptomatic patients was observed, with a greater proportion of infectious mosquitoes per assay. Demonstrating oocyst infection in the mosquitoes might confirm estimates of the infectiousness of mosquitoes, although some of the oocyst-infected mosquitoes failed to produce sporozoites. IMPORTANCE Malaria remains one of the most devastating infectious diseases globally, and transmission-blocking activities are needed. Plasmodium transmission from human to mosquitoes is poorly studied, particularly in endemic countries, and the membrane feeding assay allows it to be determined. In this study, we demonstrated human infectious reservoirs of malaria. Moreover, the effect of Plasmodium-infected patients on the infectiousness of mosquitoes was also observed. These findings are therefore important for designing future evaluation of transmission-blocking interventions that will support the malaria elimination program.

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