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Nat Commun. 2010 Nov 2;1:108.

A quantitative analysis of transmission efficiency versus intensity for malaria.

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1] Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32610, USA. [2] Department of Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA.


The relationship between malaria transmission intensity and efficiency is important for malaria epidemiology, for the design of randomized control trials that measure transmission or incidence as end points, and for measuring and modelling malaria transmission and control. Five kinds of studies published over the past century were assembled and reanalysed to quantify malaria transmission efficiency and describe its relation to transmission intensity, to understand the causes of inefficient transmission and to identify functions suitable for modelling mosquito-borne disease transmission. In this study, we show that these studies trace a strongly nonlinear relationship between malaria transmission intensity and efficiency that is parsimoniously described by a model of heterogeneous biting. When many infectious bites are concentrated on a few people, infections and parasite population structure will be highly aggregated affecting the immunoepidemiology of malaria, the evolutionary ecology of parasite life history traits and the measurement and stratification of transmission for control using entomological and epidemiological data.

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