Differential Effects of Azithromycin, Doxycycline, and Cotrimoxazole in Ingested Blood on the Vectorial Capacity of Malaria Mosquitoes

Open Forum Infect Dis. 2016 Apr 13;3(2):ofw074. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofw074. eCollection 2016 Apr.


Background. The gut microbiota of malaria vector mosquitoes grows after a blood meal and limits Plasmodium infection. We previously showed that penicillin and streptomycin in the ingested blood affect bacterial growth and positively impact mosquito survival and permissiveness to Plasmodium. In this study, we examine the effects of doxycycline, azithromycin, and co-trimoxazole. All 3 antibiotics are used in mass drug administration programs and have antimicrobial activities against bacteria and various stages of malaria parasites. Methods. The effects of blood meal supplementation with antibiotics on the mosquito microbiota, lifespan, and permissiveness to Plasmodium falciparum were assessed. Results. Ingestion of any of the 3 antibiotics significantly affected the mosquito microbiota. Azithromycin decreased P falciparum infection load and mosquito lifespan, whereas at high concentrations, doxycycline increased P falciparum infection load. Co-trimoxazole negatively impacted infection intensity but had no reproducible effect on mosquito lifespan. Conclusions. Our data suggest that the overall effect of antibiotic treatment on parameters critical for mosquito vectorial capacity is drug specific. The negative effect of azithromycin on malaria transmission is consistent with current efforts for disease elimination, whereas additional, larger scale investigations are required before conclusions can be drawn about doxycycline.

Keywords: Anopheles; Plasmodium falciparum; antibiotics; azithromycin; microbiota.