A type of mosquito that transmits malaria has been detected in Ethiopia for the first time, and the discovery has implications for putting more people at risk for malaria in new regions, according to a study led by a Baylor University researcher.
The mosquito, Anopheles stephensi, normally is found in the Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and China. Previous research shows that more than 68 percent of Ethiopia’s population is at risk for malaria, with an average of 2.5 million cases reported annually, according to the World Malaria Report of 2017.
“From a public health standpoint, or that mosquito populations are increasing where they were once were scarce,” said researcher Tamar Carter, Ph.D., assistant professor of tropical disease biology in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences, who led the lab work and genetic analysis that led to the identification of the species.
“If these mosquitoes carry malaria, we may see an emergence of malaria in new regions,” she said.
More studies are needed to determine how effective the Anopheles stephensi is in delivering a single-celled parasite that can trigger different forms of malaria, according to the research article “First detection of Anopheles stephensi Liston, 1901 (Diptera: culicidae) in Ethiopia using molecular and morphological approaches”. It was published in Acta Tropoica, an international journal on infectious diseases.
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