Holoendemic malaria transmission in two small isolated forest communities and a coastal village was studied by (1) all night human bait collections of Anopheles species from inside and outside houses and (2) buffalo-biting and CDC light-trapping catches during March and November 1984. During the same period thick and thin blood films were collected from the human population, and spleen rates were determined in children from two to nine years of age. Using both the immunoradiometric assay (IRMA) and the dissection technique, more sporozoite-positive infections were detected in An. balabacensis and An. flavirostris in November than in March. IRMA confirmed the presence of Plasmodium falciparum sporozoites. An average of 76.2% of the An. balabacensis population lived long enough to have reached a point where infectivity with P. falciparum was possible in November. Although fewer than five adult females bit humans per night at any time, a resident could theoretically have received more than 160 infective bites in one year. A high frequency of feeding on humans, coupled with increased anopheline life expectancy, contributed to high estimates of falciparum malaria vectorial capacity (number of infections distributed per case per day); for An. balabacensis (1.44-7.44 in March and 9.97-19.7 in November) and for An. flavirostris (0.19-5.14 in March and 6.27-15.8 in November). These high values may explain the increased malaria parasite rates obtained from at least two forest communities. Correlation between actual and calculated rates of gametocytaemia was poorest in Kapitangan due to inadequate sampling of the human population. In Banggi island, malaria is stable and holoendemic, and the population enjoys a high degree of immunity.
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