Malaria Transmission at a New Irrigation Project in Sri Lanka: the Emergence of Anopheles annularis as a Major Vector

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  • Malaria and Vector Biology Laboratories, Institute of Fundamental Studies, North Colombo General Hospital, Kandy, Sri Lanka

Malaria transmission was studied in a newly irrigated area of the Mahaweli project in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. Observations were performed for a three-month period following the northeast monsoon. Parasitemia in the population varied from 20.2% in February to 7% in May, and infection was due to both Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax. Night catches of mosquitoes collected with human bait included a high proportion of Anopheles annularis. Mosquitoes containing sporozoites in the salivary glands were identified by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Anopheles culicifacies, An. annularis, and An. aconitus were all implicated as vectors in the area. The highest entomologic inoculation rate, 0.12 infected bites/hr, was observed with An. annularis and P. vivax in March. We suggest that a change in the ecosystem from dry zone forest to irrigated cultivated land is the cause of the increased prevalence of An. annularis in this area and its emergence as a major vector of malaria.