Background: Although Anopheles funestus is difficult to rear, it is crucial to analyse field populations of this malaria vector in order to successfully characterise mechanisms of insecticide resistance observed in this species in Africa. In this study we carried out a large-scale field collection and rearing of An. funestus from Mozambique in order to analyse its susceptibility status to insecticides and to broadly characterise the main resistance mechanisms involved in natural populations.
Methodology/principal findings: 3,000 F(1) adults were obtained through larval rearing. WHO susceptibility assays indicated a very high resistance to pyrethroids with no mortality recorded after 1 h 30 min exposure and less than 50% mortality at 3 h 30 min. Resistance to the carbamate, bendiocarb was also noted, with 70% mortality after 1h exposure. In contrast, no DDT resistance was observed, indicating that no kdr-type resistance was involved. The sequencing of the acetylcholinesterase gene indicated the absence of the G119S and F455W mutations associated with carbamate and organophosphate resistance. This could explain the absence of malathion resistance in this population. Both biochemical assays and quantitative PCR implicated up-regulated P450 genes in pyrethroid resistance, with GSTs playing a secondary role. The carbamate resistance observed in this population is probably conferred by the observed altered AChE with esterases also involved.
Conclusion/significance: The high level of pyrethroid resistance in this population despite the cessation of pyrethroid use for IRS in 1999 is a serious concern for resistance management strategies such as rotational use of insecticides. As DDT has now been re-introduced for IRS, susceptibility to DDT needs to be closely monitored to prevent the appearance and spread of resistance to this insecticide.