Temporal and micro-spatial heterogeneity in the distribution of Anopheles vectors of malaria along the Kenyan coast
BACKGROUND: The distribution of anopheline mosquitoes is determined by temporally dynamic environmental and human-associated variables, operating over a range of spatial scales. Macro-spatial short-term trends are driven predominantly by prior (lagged) seasonal changes in climate, which regulate the abundance of suitable aquatic larval habitats. Micro-spatial distribution is determined by the location of these habitats, proximity and abundance of available human bloodmeals and prevailing micro-climatic conditions. The challenge of analysing--in a single coherent statistical framework--the lagged and distributed effect of seasonal climate changes simultaneously with the effects of an underlying hierarchy of spatial factors has hitherto not been addressed. METHODS: Data on Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto and A. funestus collected from households in Kilifi district, Kenya, were analysed using polynomial distributed lag generalized linear mixed models (PDL GLMMs). RESULTS: Anopheline density was positively and significantly associated with amount of rainfall between 4 to 47 days, negatively and significantly associated with maximum daily temperature between 5 and 35 days, and positively and significantly associated with maximum daily temperature between 29 and 48 days in the past (depending on Anopheles species). Multiple-occupancy households harboured greater mosquito numbers than single-occupancy households. A significant degree of mosquito clustering within households was identified. CONCLUSIONS: The PDL GLMMs developed here represent a generalizable framework for analysing hierarchically-structured data in combination with explanatory variables which elicit lagged effects. The framework is a valuable tool for facilitating detailed understanding of determinants of the spatio-temporal distribution of Anopheles. Such understanding facilitates delivery of targeted, cost-effective and, in certain circumstances, preventative antivectorial interventions against malaria.