Countries in the Asia Pacific region aim to eliminate malaria by 2030. A cornerstone of malaria elimination is the effective management of Anopheles mosquito vectors. Current control tools such as insecticide treated nets or indoor residual sprays target mosquitoes in human dwellings. We find in a high transmission region in India, malaria vector populations show a high propensity to feed on livestock (cattle) and rest in outdoor structures such as cattle shelters. We also find evidence for a shift in vector species complex towards increased zoophilic behavior in recent years. Using a malaria transmission model we demonstrate that in such regions dominated by zoophilic vectors, existing vector control tactics will be insufficient to achieve elimination, even if maximized. However, by increasing mortality in the zoophilic cycle, the elimination threshold can be reached. Current national vector control policy in India restricts use of residual insecticide sprays to domestic dwellings. Our study suggests substantial benefits of extending the approach to treatment of cattle sheds, or deploying other tactics that target zoophilic behavior. Optimizing use of existing tools will be essential to achieving the ambitious 2030 elimination target.
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