Controlling malaria using livestock-based interventions: a one health approach

Ana O. Franco, M. Gabriela M. Gomes, Mark Rowland, Paul G. Coleman, Clive R. Davies

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Where malaria is transmitted by zoophilic vectors, two types of malaria control strategies have been proposed based on animals: using livestock to divert vector biting from people (zooprophylaxis) or as baits to attract vectors to insecticide sources (insecticide-treated livestock). Opposing findings have been obtained on malaria zooprophylaxis, and despite the success of an insecticide-treated livestock trial in Pakistan, where malaria vectors are highly zoophilic, its effectiveness is yet to be formally tested in Africa where vectors are more anthropophilic. This study aims to clarify the different effects of livestock on malaria and to understand under what circumstances livestock-based interventions could play a role in malaria control programmes. This was explored by developing a mathematical model and combining it with data from Pakistan and Ethiopia. Consistent with previous work, a zooprophylactic effect of untreated livestock is predicted in two situations: if vector population density does not increase with livestock introduction, or if livestock numbers and availability to vectors are sufficiently high such that the increase in vector density is counteracted by the diversion of bites from humans to animals. Although, as expected, insecticide-treatment of livestock is predicted to be more beneficial in settings with highly zoophilic vectors, like South Asia, we find that the intervention could also considerably decrease malaria transmission in regions with more anthropophilic vectors, like Anopheles arabiensis in Africa, under specific circumstances: high treatment coverage of the livestock population, using a product with stronger or longer lasting insecticidal effect than in the Pakistan trial, and with small (ideally null) repellency effect, or if increasing the attractiveness of treated livestock to malaria vectors. The results suggest these are the most appropriate conditions for field testing insecticide-treated livestock in an Africa region with moderately zoophilic vectors, where this intervention could contribute to the integrated control of malaria and livestock diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere101699
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2014


  • malaria
  • mosquito species
  • insecticide
  • Anopheles arabiensis
  • disease transmission
  • livestock
  • malaria control
  • mathematical model
  • parasite vector
  • disease carrier
  • parasitology


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