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SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL HETEROGENEITY OF ANOPHELES MOSQUITOES AND PLASMODIUM FALCIPARUM TRANSMISSION ALONG THE KENYAN COAST

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  • 1 Centre for Geographic Medicine Research-Coast, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kilifi, Kenya; Department of International Heath and Development, Department of Pharmacology, and Department of Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana; Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana; Institute for Science and Public Policy, and School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma; Department of Biology, State University of New York, Buffalo, New York; Human Health Division, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, Nairobi, Kenya

The seasonal dynamics and spatial distributions of Anopheles mosquitoes and Plasmodium falciparum parasites were studied for one year at 30 villages in Malindi, Kilifi, and Kwale Districts along the coast of Kenya. Anopheline mosquitoes were sampled inside houses at each site once every two months and malaria parasite prevalence in local school children was determined at the end of the entomologic survey. A total of 5,476 Anopheles gambiae s.l. and 3,461 An. funestus were collected. Species in the An. gambiae complex, identified by a polymerase chain reaction, included 81.9% An. gambiae s.s., 12.8% An. arabiensis, and 5.3% An. merus. Anopheles gambiae s.s. contributed most to the transmission of P. falciparum along the coast as a whole, while An. funestus accounted for more than 50% of all transmission in Kwale District. Large spatial heterogeneity of transmission intensity (< 1 up to 120 infective bites per person per year) resulted in correspondingly large and significantly related variations in parasite prevalence (range = 38–83%). Thirty-two percent of the sites (7 of 22 sites) with malaria prevalences ranging from 38% to 70% had annual entomologic inoculation rates (EIR) less than five infective bites per person per year. Anopheles gambiae s.l. and An. funestus densities in Kwale were not significantly influenced by rainfall. However, both were positively correlated with rainfall one and three months previously in Malindi and Kilifi Districts, respectively. These unexpected variations in the relationship between mosquito populations and rainfall suggest environmental heterogeneity in the predominant aquatic habitats in each district. One important conclusion is that the highly non-linear relationship between EIRs and prevalence indicates that the consistent pattern of high prevalence might be governed by substantial variation in transmission intensity measured by entomologic surveys. The field-based estimate of entomologic parameters on a district level does not provide a sensitive indicator of transmission intensity in this study.

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