What’s the Buzz?

Tomorrow – April 25 – is World Malaria Day! Never has our work been more important. While many of us think about IRS and ITNs as the heart of our work, we must first know which mosquitoes are carrying malaria and where those vectors are hiding! As the old proverb goes, Know Thine Enemy!

For that reason, this week’s Fist Bump Friday goes to VL Ethiopia’s Meshesha Balkew, VL Ethiopia COP Peter Mumba, VL Technical Director Dereje Dengela, VL Ethiopia’s Gedeon Yohannes and PMI COR’s Kristen George for their recent article “Geographical distribution of Anopheles stephensi in eastern Ethiopia” published in Parasites & Vectors.

Both morphological and molecular methods for species identification were used, with adult and larval/pupal collections conducted at ten sites in eastern Ethiopia. Anopheles specimens were identified using standard morphological keys and genetic analysis.

In total, 2231 morphologically identified An. stephensi were collected. A molecular approach incorporating both PCR endpoint assay and sequencing of portions of the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) and cytochrome coxidase subunit 1 (cox1) loci confirmed the identity of the An. stephensi in most cases (119/124 of the morphologically identified An. stephensi confirmed molecularly). Additionally, the authors observed Aedes aegypti larvae and pupae at many of the An. stephensi larval habitats.

Getting too technical? For some of us (including me!), probably. That’s why we love our entomologists. They know their mosquitoes.

The important takeaway is that their findings show that An. stephensi is widely distributed in eastern Ethiopia. This means that there is a need for further surveillance in the southern, western,and northern parts of the country and throughout the Horn of Africa to determine its potential impact on malaria transmission.

Read the full article here: https://parasitesandvectors.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13071-020-3904-y

A huge thanks and congratulations to the authors for their work!