Mosquitoes and transmission of malaria parasites – not just vectors
The regional malaria epidemics of the early 1900s provided the basis for much of our current understanding of malaria epidemiology. Colonel Gill, an eminent malariologist of that time, suggested that the explosive nature of the regional epidemics was due to a sudden increased infectiousness of the adult population. His pertinent observations underlying this suggestion have, however, gone unheeded. Here, the literature on Plasmodium seasonal behaviour is reviewed and three historical data sets, concerning seasonal transmission of Plasmodium falciparum , are examined. It is proposed that the dramatic seasonal increase in the density of uninfected mosquito bites results in an increased infectiousness of the human reservoir of infection and, therefore, plays a key role in "kick-starting" malaria parasite transmission.