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Behavioral response of insecticide-resistant mosquitoes against spatial repellent: A modified self-propelled particle model simulation


Rapidly increasing pyrethroid insecticide resistance and changes in vector biting and resting behavior pose serious challenges in malaria control. Mosquito repellents, especially spatial repellents, have received much attention from industry. We attempted to simulate interactions between mosquitoes and repellents using a machine learning method, the Self-Propelled Particle (SPP) model, which we modified to include attractiveness/repellency effects. We simulated a random walk scenario and scenarios with insecticide susceptible/resistant mosquitoes against repellent alone and against repellent plus attractant (to mimic a human host). Simulation results indicated that without attractant/repellent, mosquitoes would fly anywhere in the cage at random. With attractant, all mosquitoes were attracted to the source of the odor by the end. With repellent, all insecticide-susceptible mosquitoes eventually moved to the corner of the cage farthest from the repellent release point, whereas, a high proportion of highly resistant mosquitoes might reach the attractant release point (the human) earlier in the simulation. At fixed concentration, a high proportion of mosquitoes could be able to reach the host when the relative repellency efficacy (compare to attractant efficacy) was <1, whereas, no mosquitoes reached the host when the relative repellency efficacy was > 1. This result implies that repellent may not be sufficient against highly physiologically insecticide resistant mosquitoes, since very high concentrations of repellent are neither practically feasible nor cost-effective.

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