Anopheles stephensi

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Overview:

The spread of the mosquito species Anopheles stephensi across Africa poses a significant problem to a continent already heavily burdened by malaria.

About Anopheles stephensi:

  • It is a malaria vector native to South Asia.
  • It transmits both Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax. It rapidly adapts to changes in the environment and is found in both rural and urban areas.
  • This is different from African malaria vectors, which are typically found in rural areas.
  • This species can thrive in urban areas and likes being near humans.
  • They lay their eggs in any available water source – such as water containers, abandoned tyres and flowerpots – and their eggs can survive being dry for a long period of time.
  • In addition, An. stephensi feeds on its vertebrate host both indoors and outdoors. This reduces the impact of commonly used vector control methods such as insecticide-treated nets and indoor residual spraying.
  • Concerns:
    • Anopheles stephensi as well as of Aedes mosquitoes, which carry many dreaded diseases including dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya and Zika.
    • The invasion of this urban mosquito into Africa threatens the malaria elimination aspirations of the continent, particularly as 42.5% of Africa’s population now live in urban area.

Q1: What is Zika Virus?

Zika Virus is a mosquito-borne virus that was first identified in the Zika Forest of Uganda in 1947. It is primarily transmitted to humans through the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes, particularly Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus.

Source: Mosquito species from Asia pose growing risk to Africa’s anti-malaria efforts