In August of 2000, a comparative susceptibility study was conducted using 3 species of Anopheles mosquitoes from Belize, Central America, and a standard species used in laboratory infection studies, Anopheles stephensi. Test populations were fed human blood infected with cultured Plasmodium falciparum (NF-54 strain) parasites via a membrane feeder. The control species, An. stephensi, exhibited the highest infections, with 73.8% of dissected specimens positive for sporozoites in the salivary glands. The control species also showed heavier sporozoite loads; 74.0% of positive glands having greater than 200 sporozoites. Of species from Belize, Anopheles darlingi was the most susceptibile, e.g., 41.0% of salivary glands were positive, with more than 200 sporozoites per gland. Anopheles vestitipennis had a low salivary gland infection rate (9.3%) and a moderate number of sporozoites in glands (i.e., 85.7% containing 50–250 sporozoites). Anopheles albimanus was the least susceptible species to infection. No specimens of An. albimanus from the Golden Stream population developed sporozoites in the salivary glands, yet 20.7% of dissected specimens had positive midgut infections. The An. albimanus Buena Vista population showed similar results with only a 2.2% salivary gland infection rate and a 21.5% midgut infection rate. Oocysts in An. stephensi increased in size by 20% after day 10. Development peaked at day 12, with a mean oocyst diameter of 58 μm at onset of oocyst differentiation. Oocysts developed more slowly in An. vestitipennis until day 10. After day 10, there was a 53% increase in oocyst development over the previous 10 days. Oocyst differentiation was not observed until day 13 postfeed. As with An. vestitipennis, both populations of An. albimanus showed similar slow rates of oocyst development; however, no dramatic growth increase occurred after day 10. The oocysts in the Golden Stream population exhibited a cessation of growth after day 10, peaking at a mean of 30 μm. The Buena Vista population did not exhibit the same level of reduced oocyst development. A gradual increase in growth continued until days 13 and 14 (36.7 and 35.7 μm, respectively).
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Vol. 21 • No. 3