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      Field study site selection, species abundance and monthly distribution of anopheline mosquitoes in the northern Kruger National Park, South Africa

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          Abstract

          Background

          Knowledge of the ecology and behaviour of a target species is a prerequisite for the successful development of any vector control strategy. Before the implementation of any strategy it is essential to have comprehensive information on the bionomics of species in the targeted area. The aims of this study were to conduct regular entomological surveillance and to determine the relative abundance of anopheline species in the northern Kruger National Park. In addition to this, the impact of weather conditions on an Anopheles arabiensis population were evaluated and a range of mosquito collection methods were assessed.

          Methods

          A survey of Anopheles species was made between July 2010 and December 2012. Mosquitoes were collected from five sites in the northern Kruger National Park, using carbon dioxide-baited traps, human landing and larval collections. Specimens were identified morphologically and polymerase chain reaction assays were subsequently used where appropriate.

          Results

          A total of 3,311 specimens belonging to nine different taxa was collected. Species collected were: Anopheles arabiensis (n = 1,352), Anopheles quadriannulatus (n = 870), Anopheles coustani (n = 395), Anopheles merus (n = 349), Anopheles pretoriensis (n = 35), Anopheles maculipalpis (n = 28), Anopheles rivulorum (n = 19), Anopheles squamosus (n = 3) and Anopheles rufipes (n = 2). Members of the Anopheles gambiae species complex were the most abundant and widely distributed, occurring across all collection sites. The highest number of mosquitoes was collected using CO 2 baited net traps (58.2%) followed by human landing catches (24.8%). Larval collections (17%) provided an additional method to increase sample size. Mosquito sampling productivity was influenced by prevailing weather conditions and overall population densities fluctuated with seasons.

          Conclusion

          Several anopheline species occur in the northern Kruger National Park and their densities fluctuate between seasons. Species abundance and relative proportions within the An. gambiae complex varied between collection methods. There is a perennial presence of an isolated population of An. arabiensis at the Malahlapanga site which declined in density during the dry winter months, making this site suitable for a small pilot study site for Sterile Insect Technique as a malaria vector control strategy.

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          Most cited references 13

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          Identification of single specimens of the Anopheles gambiae complex by the polymerase chain reaction.

          A ribosomal DNA-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method has been developed for species identification of individuals of the five most widespread members of the Anopheles gambiae complex, a group of morphologically indistinguishable sibling mosquito species that includes the major vectors of malaria in Africa. The method, which is based on species-specific nucleotide sequences in the ribosomal DNA intergenic spacers, may be used to identify both species and interspecies hybrids, regardless of life stage, using either extracted DNA or fragments of a specimen. Intact portions of a mosquito as small as an egg or the segment of one leg may be placed directly into the PCR mixture for amplification and analysis. The method uses a cocktail of five 20-base oligonucleotides to identify An. gambiae, An. arabiensis, An. quadriannnulatus, and either An. melas in western Africa or An. melas in eastern and southern Africa.
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            A cocktail polymerase chain reaction assay to identify members of the Anopheles funestus (Diptera: Culicidae) group.

            Anopheles funestus Giles is a major malaria vector in Africa belonging to a group of species with morphologically similar characteristics. Morphological identification of members of the A. funestus group is difficult because of overlap of distinguishing characteristics in adult or immature stages as well as the necessity to rear isofemale lines to examine larval and egg characters. A rapid rDNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method has been developed to accurately identify five members of the A. funestus group. This PCR is based on species-specific primers in the ITS2 region on the rDNA to identify A. funestus (approximately 505bp), Anopheles vaneedeni Gillies and Coetzee (approximately 587bp), Anopheles rivulorum Leeson (approximately 411bp), Anopheles leesoni Evans (approximately 146bp), and Anopheles parensis Gillies (approximately 252bp).
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              Anopheles funestus resistant to pyrethroid insecticides in South Africa.

              Northern Kwazulu/Natal (KZN) Province of South Africa borders on southern Mozambique, between Swaziland and the Indian Ocean. To control malaria vectors in KZN, houses were sprayed annually with residual DDT 2 g/ m2 until 1996 when the treatment changed to deltamethrin 20-25 mg/m2. At Ndumu (27 degrees 02'S, 32 degrees 19'E) the recorded malaria incidence increased more than six-fold between 1995 and 1999. Entomological surveys during late 1999 found mosquitoes of the Anopheles funestus group (Diptera: Culicidae) resting in sprayed houses in some sectors of Ndumu area. This very endophilic-vector of malaria had been eliminated from South Africa by DDT spraying in the 1950s, leaving the less endophilic An. arabiensis Patton as the only vector of known importance in KZN. Deltamethrin-sprayed houses at Ndumu were checked for insecticide efficacy by bioassay using susceptible An. arabiensis (laboratory-reared) that demonstrated 100% mortality. Members of the An. funestus group from Ndumu houses (29 males, 116 females) were identified by the rDNA PCR method and four species were found: 74 An. funestus Giles sensu stricto, 34 An. parensis Gillies, seven An. rivulorum Leeson and one An. leesoni Evans. Among An. funestus s.s. females, 5.4% (4/74) were positive for Plasmodium falciparum by ELISA and PCR tests. To test for pyrethroid resistance, mosquito adults were exposed to permethrin discriminating dosage and mortality scored 24h post-exposure: survival rates of wild-caught healthy males were 5/10 An. funestus, 1/9 An. rivulorum and 0/2 An. parensis; survival rates of laboratory-reared adult progeny from 19 An. funestus females averaged 14% (after 1h exposure to 1% permethrin 25:75cis:trans on papers in WHO test kits) and 27% (after 30 min in a bottle with 25 microg permethrin 40:60cis:trans). Anopheles funestus families showing >20% survival in these two resistance test procedures numbered 5/19 and 12/19, respectively. Progeny from 15 of the families were tested on 4% DDT impregnated papers and gave 100% mortality. Finding these proportions of pyrethroid-resistant An. funestus, associated with a malaria upsurge at Ndumu, has serious implications for malaria vector control operations in southern Africa.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Malar J
                Malar. J
                Malaria Journal
                BioMed Central
                1475-2875
                2014
                24 January 2014
                : 13
                : 27
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Centre for Opportunistic, Tropical and Hospital Infections, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Private Bag X4, Sandringham, Johannesburg 2131, South Africa
                [2 ]Wits Research Institute for Malaria, School of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
                [3 ]Shangoni Section, Kruger National Park, Private Bag X402, Skukuza 1350, South Africa
                [4 ]Scientific Services, South African National Parks, Private Bag X402, Skukuza 1350, South Africa
                [5 ]Department of Paraclinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort 0110, South Africa
                [6 ]Zoonoses Research Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0007, South Africa
                Article
                1475-2875-13-27
                10.1186/1475-2875-13-27
                3925985
                24460920
                Copyright © 2014 Munhenga et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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