Mass treatment with ivermectin for filariasis control in Papua New Guinea: impact on mosquito survival

Med Vet Entomol. 1999 May;13(2):120-3. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2915.1999.00159.x.


Field studies were carried out to determine the impact of mass human treatment with ivermectin on the survival of anthropophagic mosquitoes of the Anopheles punctulatus complex (Diptera: Culicidae), the vectors of lymphatic filariasis and malaria in Papua New Guinea. In a village where mass treatment had been given, using 400 microg/kg ivermectin plus 6 mg/kg diethylcarbamazine citrate (DEC), we performed pre- and post-treatment collections of freshly blood-engorged mosquitoes from the same nine bedrooms. All blood-fed mosquitoes collected less than 4 days after mass treatment died within 9 days, whereas 67% of those collected before treatment survived for >9 days. Comparison (using the log-rank test) of the survival curves for mosquitoes collected (i) before treatment, (ii)<4 days after treatment, and (iii) 28 days after treatment, showed the survival rate of group (ii) to be significantly lower than the other two (chi2=176, df=2, P<0.0001). Pre- and post-treatment all-night landing catches showed no reduction in human biting rates in the experimental village. In another village, where people were mass treated with ivermectin (400 microg/kg) only, the survival rates of freshly blood-engorged An. punctulatus collected from bedroom resting-sites less than 1 day after treatment, were compared to similar collections carried out at the same time in a nearby village where people were not treated with ivermectin. The 48-h survival rate for the ivermectin-treated village was 31% compared to 94% for the other; this difference was highly significant (chi2=32.42, df=1, P<0.0001). Mosquitoes fed 2 months post-treatment with DEC or collected 38 days post-treatment with ivermectin had normal survival rates. We conclude that the duration of the systemic lethal effect of ivermectin on mosquitoes is insufficient to be of epidemiological significance in filariasis control programmes that are based on biannual and annual single-dose treatments, but might reduce vectorial capacity sufficiently to block epidemics of dengue or even malaria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anopheles*
  • Anthelmintics / therapeutic use*
  • Elephantiasis, Filarial / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insect Vectors*
  • Ivermectin / therapeutic use*
  • Mosquito Control*
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Wuchereria bancrofti*


  • Anthelmintics
  • Ivermectin