Vector Density Gradients and the Epidemiology of Urban Malaria in Dakar, Senegal

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  • Laboratoire de Paludologie, ORSTOM, Laboratoire de Parasitologie Biomedicale, Institute Pasteur, Programme Urbanisation et Sante, ORSTOM, Dakar, Senegal

The dispersion of anopheline mosquitoes from their breeding places and its impact on malaria epidemiology has been investigated in Dakar, Senegal, where malaria is hypoendemic and almost exclusively transmitted by Anopheles arabiensis. Pyrethrum spray collections were carried out along a 910-meter area starting from a district bordering on a permanent marsh and continuing into the center of the city. According to the distance from the marsh, vector density (the number of An. arabiensis per 100 rooms) at 0–160, 160–285, 285–410, 410–535, 535–660, 660–785, and 785–910 meters was 84, 40, 5, 2, 2, 0.4, and 0, respectively, during the dry season, and 414, 229, 110, 84, 99, 69, and 21, respectively, during the rainy season. The proportion of 8–11-year-old children with negative immunofluorescent antibody test results for Plasmodium falciparum was 17%, 28%, 44%, 54%, 50%, 63%, and 73%, respectively, in these different sections. Malaria prevalence in the community was maximum in the area bordering on the marsh where it ranged from 1% to 15% (average 6%) according to age and season of the year. These findings show the epidemiologic importance of vector density gradients in Dakar. The implications for malaria control in urban areas are discussed.