Changing distribution and abundance of the malaria vector Anopheles merus in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa
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JournalPublic Health Action
AbstractBackground: The malaria vector Anopheles merus occurs in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa. As its contribution to malaria transmission in South Africa has yet to be ascertained, an intensification of surveillance is necessary to provide baseline information on this species. The aim of this study was therefore to map An. merus breeding sites in the Ehlanzeni District of Mpumalanga Province and to assess qualitative trends in the distribution and relative abundance of this species over a 9-year period. Methods: The study was carried out during the period 2005-2014 in the four high-risk municipalities of Ehlanzeni District. Fifty-two breeding sites were chosen from all water bodies that produced anopheline mosquitoes. The study data were extracted from historical entomological records that are captured monthly. Results: Of the 15 058 Anopheles mosquitoes collected, 64% were An. merus. The abundance and distribution of An. merus increased throughout the four municipalities in Ehlanzeni District during the study period. Conclusion: The expanded distribution and increased abundance of An. merus in the Ehlanzeni District may contribute significantly to locally acquired malaria in Mpumalanga Province, likely necessitating the incorporation of additional vector control methods specifically directed against populations of this species.