The Ghana Health Service reports the presence of a new mosquito vector, Anopheles stephensi, has been confirmed in the country.
It was confirmed in March 2023 from samples taken in Tuba and Dansoman in the Greater Accra Region as part of the routine malaria surveillance system and vector control monitoring done across the country through designated sentinel sites.
A 2019 alert was issued by the World Health Organization about the invasion of Africa of the mosquito. Until 2011, Anopheles stephensi was confined to South Asia and parts of the Arabian Peninsula.
Since then, the mosquito has been identified in Djubouti, Ethiopia, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Somalia and most recently, in Nigeria and Yemen.
In Africa, malaria is traditionally been a rural disease with towns and cities associated with much lower levels or absence of malaria. This is due to the fact that most African malaria mosquitoes breed in rural areas. However, the introduction of Anopheles stephensi may increase the malaria risk for urban populations.
Anopheles stephensi can reproduce particularly well in man-made containers with clean water. This makes Anopheles stephensi a notorious mosquito species for urban malaria.