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Reemergence of Anopheles funestus as a Vector of Plasmodium falciparum in Western Kenya after Long-Term Implementation of Insecticide-Treated Bed Nets

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  • Department of Entomology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; Department of Biomedical Science and Technology, School of Public Health and Community Development, Maseno University, Maseno, Kenya; Centre for Global Health Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kisumu, Kenya; Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

Historically, the malaria vectors in western Kenya have been Anopheles funestus, Anopheles gambiae s.s., and Anopheles arabiensis. Of these species, An. funestus populations declined the most after the introduction of insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs) in the 1990s in Asembo, and collections of An. funestus in the region remained low until at least 2008. Contrary to findings during the early years of ITN use in Asembo, the majority of the Anopheles collected here in 2010 and 2011 were An. funestus. Female An. funestus had characteristically high Plasmodium falciparum sporozoite rates and showed nearly 100% anthropophily. Female An. funestus were found more often indoors than outdoors and had relatively low mortality rates during insecticide bioassays. Together, these results are of serious concern for public health in the region, indicating that An. funestus may once again be contributing significantly to the transmission of malaria in this region despite the widespread use of ITNs/long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs).

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Robert S. McCann, Department of Entomology, Biomedical and Physical Sciences Building, 567 Wilson Road, Room 6170, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824. E-mail: mccannr3@msu.edu

Financial support: This study was supported by a National Science Foundation Ecology of Infectious Diseases grant (grant no. EF-0723770) and NIAID Grant U01AI0508542 with additional support from the Rhodes Thompson Memorial Fellowship Fund.

Authors' addresses: Robert S. McCann, Department of Entomology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, E-mail: mccannr3@msu.edu. Eric Ochomo and M. Nabie Bayoh, Kenya Medical Research Institute/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Research and Public Health Collaboration, Kisumu, Kenya, E-mails: eochomo@kemricdc.org and nbayoh@kemricdc.org. John M. Vulule, Centre for Global Health Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kisumu, Kenya, E-mail: jvulule@kemricdc.org. Mary J. Hamel, John E. Gimnig, and William A. Hawley, Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, E-mails: mhamel@cdc.gov, jgimnig@cdc.gov, and whawley@cdc.gov. Edward D. Walker, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, E-mail: walker@msu.edu.

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