Author(s): Ansell J, Hamilton KA, Pinder M, Walraven GE, Lindsay SW
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Abstract Malaria is a major cause of illness and an indirect cause of mortality in pregnant women. It can also cause stillbirths and low-birthweight babies. We have shown previously that pregnant women attracted twice as many Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes, the principal African malaria vector, as their non-pregnant counterparts over distances of about 15 m. In the current study (in 1998/99) we compared the short-range attractiveness of both pregnant and non-pregnant women sleeping under untreated bednets in Gambian villages. First, we measured the rate of mosquito entry under bednets and, second, we calculated the proportion of mosquitoes biting mothers under each bednet compared to their children. The feeding preference of An. gambiae collected under nets was determined by DNA fingerprinting blood samples from human subjects sleeping under each bednet and comparing these to fingerprints obtained from mosquito bloodmeals. Pregnant women were more attractive to An. gambiae mosquitoes than non-pregnant women under an untreated bednet. The number of mosquitoes entering bednets each night was 1.7-4.5 times higher in the pregnant group (P = 0.02) and pregnant women also received a higher proportion of bites under the bednets than did non-pregnant women (70\% vs 52\%, P = 0.001). This study clearly demonstrates that pregnant women are more exposed to malaria parasites than other women, which contributes to the greater vulnerability of pregnant women to malaria.
This article was published in Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy