Human-biting activities of Anopheles species in Ethiopia

Kenea O, Balkew M, Tekie H, Gebre-Michael T, Deressa W, Loha E, Lindtjørn B, Overgaard HJ: Human-biting activities of Anopheles species in south-central Ethiopia. Parasites & vectors 2016, 9(1):1-12.


Background    Indoor residual spraying (IRS) and long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) are the key malaria vector control interventions in Ethiopia. The success of these interventions rely on their efficacy to repel or kill indoor feeding and resting mosquitoes. This study was undertaken to monitor human-biting patterns of Anopheles species in south-central Ethiopia.

Methods   Human-biting patterns of anophelines were monitored for 40 nights in three houses using human landing catches (HLC) both indoors and outdoors between July and November 2014, in Edo Kontola village, south-central Ethiopia. This time coincides with the major malaria transmission season in Ethiopia, which is usually between September and November. Adult mosquitoes were collected from 19:00 to 06:00 h and identified to species. Comparisons of HLC data were done using incidence rate ratio (IRR) calculated by negative binomial regression. The nocturnal biting activities of each Anopheles species was expressed as mean number of mosquitoes landing per person per hour. To assess malaria infections in Anopheles mosquitoes the presence of Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax circumsporozoite proteins (CSP) were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

Results   Altogether 3,408 adult female anophelines were collected, 2,610 (76.6 %) outdoors and 798 (23.4 %) indoors. Anopheles zeimanni was the predominant species (66.5 %) followed by An. arabiensis (24.8 %), An. pharoensis (6.8 %) and An. funestus (s.l.) (1.8 %).

The overall mean anopheline density was 3.3 times higher outdoors than indoors (65.3 vs19.9/person/night, IRR: 3.3, 95 % CI: 1.1–5.1, P = 0.001). The mean density of An. zeimanniAn. pharoensis and An. funestus (s.l.) collected outdoors was significantly higher than indoors for each species (P < 0.05). However, the mean An. arabiensis density outdoors was similar to that indoors (11.8 vs 9.4/person/night, IRR: 1.3, 95 % CI: 0.8–1.9, P = 0.335). The mean hourly human-biting density of An. arabiensis was greater outdoors than indoors and peaked between 21:00 and 22:00 h. However, An. arabiensis parous population showed high indoor man biting activities during bedtimes (22:00 to 05:00 h) when the local people were indoor and potentially protected by IRS and LLINs. All mosquito samples tested for CSP antigen were found negative to malaria parasites.

Conclusions   Results show much greater mosquito human-biting activities occurring outdoors than indoors and during early parts of the night, implying higher outdoor malaria transmission potential in the area. However, high bedtime (22:00 to 05:00 h) indoor biting activities of parous An. arabiensissuggest high potential intervention impact of IRS and LLINs on indoor malaria transmission.

The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment

In May 2013, more than 480 researchers and 80 scientific organisations published a declaration condemning the use of the journal impact factor to measure scholarly success.  Journals and organisations such as Science, Proceedings of The National Academy Of Sciences (PNAS), Times Higher Education, and Wellcome Trust are among the organisations backing this call.

The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment states the journal impact factor is misused to assess the significance of work by scientists who publish in those journals. A number of themes run through these recommendations:

  • “the need to eliminate the use of journal-based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factors, in funding, appointment, and promotion considerations;
  • the need to assess research on its own merits rather than on the basis of the journal in which the research is published; and
  • the need to capitalise on the opportunities provided by online publication (such as relaxing unnecessary limits on the number of words, figures, and references in articles, and exploring new indicators of significance and impact)”.

The first and general recommendation is:  “Do not use journal-based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factors, as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles, to assess an individual scientist’s contributions, or in hiring, promotion, or funding decisions.”

The declaration concludes that we need a cultural change where papers are mainly evaluated for their own scientific merit.

A note in Nature (2005) stated that research assessment “rests too heavily on the inflated status of the impact factor”. And the biologist Stephen Curry of Imperial College London wrote in a blog post: “I am sick of impact factors and so is science”.

Too many journals – too little good research

Erlend Hem’s  Editorial in the Norwegian Medical Journal “Too many journals – too little good research” is thought-provoking, especially the question of whether we publish too much. Fewer and better publications is a good conclusion of his Editorial. But, if we should publish good articles in traditional journals or in electronic “Open Access” (OA) journals is difficult to answer.

OA has improved access to medical journals. Researchers in developing countries can access them free.

Hem suggests that traditional journals have better peer-review  than OA journals such as BioMedCentral. I know of examples of articles that have inadequate peer review. However, this applies to both OA and traditional publications. In the research training programme at the University of Bergen, students criticize scientific papers, often from well-known journals such as BMJ and Lancet. And, they often find serious mistakes in the papers.

My question is: Is the editor best suited to choose what is good and important science, and what is essential to publish? And, we know that editors favour scientists they learn to know at conferences and meetings.

Many electronic journals (such as PLoS ONE and BioMedCentral) accepts all submitted articles as long as they meet minimum scientific criteria. Such a policy means that they publish many scientific articles. And such journals have a surprisingly high impact factor, and the best research institutions use them.

Is not it time the Norwegian medical Journal (and other journals) are more “Open Access”? I suggest that all articles that meet the minimum scientific requirements should be published electronically. The Editor can then choose articles they wish to publish in the printed paper version.

(This is a translation of the Norwegian text on the Journal’s blog)


Impact Factor and Tropical Medicine

The 2010 edition of Thomson Reuter’s Journal Citation Reports has been released. Two open access journals rank as number 1 and number 2 in the Tropical Medicine category.

Rank Abbreviated Journal Title Total Cites 2010 impact factor 5-Year


1 PLOS NEGLECT TROP D 2020 4,752 4,849
2 MALARIA J 4012 3,489 3,551
3 TROP MED INT HEALTH 5503 2,841 2,967
4 T ROY SOC TROP MED H 8015 2,832 2,615
5 AM J TROP MED HYG 16905 2,446 2,884
6 ACTA TROP 4527 2,262 2,5
7 MEM I OSWALDO CRUZ 5385 2,058 2,081
8 ANN TROP MED PARASIT 2782 1,288 1,579
9 J TROP PEDIATRICS 1416 1,248 1,286
10 LEPROSY REV 516 1,162 1,038

PhD Reviews

Global Health Action (GHA) is an international, peer-reviewed Open Access journal, which was launched in 2008. It is affiliated with the Umeå Centre for Global Health Research (CGH) in Sweden.

The Journal is registered in PubMed, and reaches a global audience in 190 countries.

The journal has recently started a new area of editorial content called PhD Reviews.

They invite young researchers that have recently defended their PhDs within the field of global health to write a paper based on their cover stories. One background reason for this is that Scandinavian PhDs are usually based on a set of articles synthesized into a “cover story” of some 30-50 pages. Some of these syntheses provide excellent reviews of the research area but they seldom reach beyond the host institution or the close collaborators and examiners. Condensing them into a PhD Review may also serve as incentive for the young researcher to publish their first post doc paper as a sole author.

You may find a few examples at their website,, or by clicking here to find the section ‘PhD Reviews.

Science blogging and peer-review

Should science bloggers play a role in discussing peer-reviewed publications? That is the question an interesting Editorial in Nature raise on December 16, 2010.

The background for was a paper about the discovery a bacterium can replace the phosphorus in its DNA with arsenic paper (F. Wolfe-Simon et al. Science doi:10.1126/science.1197258; 2010). The researchers had widely publicised their findings on the web, but when bloggers and researchers raised thoughtful reservations about the paper’s method and findings, the authors refused to comment because the blog was not peer-reviewed.

Unfortunately, few papers get substantive comments. Nature states that bloggers have an important part to play in assessing research findings, especially when the criticism is from the researchers’ peers (a person of the same age, status, or ability as another named person).

It is encouraging that journals now encourage post-publication discussion on blogs and online commenting facilities. This is a complement to, and not a substitute for conventional peer review. However, it is equally true that online commenting and blogs contribute little and few authors bother to respond to online criticisms of their papers (P. C. Gøtzsche et al. Br. Med. J. 341, c3926; 2010).

Ethiopian Journal of Health Development Vol 24 No 2

Volume 24, No 2, 2010, 87 – 153


pdf Bridging the divide: Linking training to services. Damen Haile Mariam
Original articles
pdf Assessing communication on sexual and reproductive health issues among high school students with their parents, Bullen Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, North West Ethiopia. Desalegn Gebre Yesus, and Mesganaw Fantahun.
pdf Applicability of the theory of planned behavior in predicting intended use of Voluntary HIV Counseling and Testing services among teachers of Harari Region, Ethiopia. Shemsedin Omer, and Jemal Haidar
pdf Community based assessment on household management of waste and hygiene practices in Kersa Woreda, Eastern Ethiopia. Bizatu Mengistie, and Negga Baraki
pdf Assessment of the impact of latrine utilization on diarrhoeal diseases in the rural community of Hulet Ejju Enessie Woreda, East Gojjam Zone, Amhara Region. Andualem Anteneh, and Abera Kumie
pdf Healthcare waste generation and its management system: the case of health centers in West Gojjam Zone, Amhara Region, Ethiopia. Muluken Azage, and Abera Kumie
pdf The status of rabies in Ethiopia: A retrospective record review. Asefa Deressa, Abraham Ali, Mekoro Beyene, Bethelehem Newaye Selassie, Eshetu Yimer and Kedir Hussen
pdf Byssinosis and other respiratory symptoms among factory workers in Akaki textile factory, Ethiopia. Kassahun Alemu, Abera Kumie, Gail Davey
pdf Collective radiation dose from diagnostic x-ray examination in nine public hospitals in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Daniel Admassie, Seife Teferi and Kalkidan Hailegenaw
Bibliography on HIV/AIDS
Hypertension, obesity and central obesity in diabetics and non diabetics in Southern Ethiopia. Araya Giday, Mistire Wolde and Dawit Yihdego
pdf Comparison of formol-acetone concentration method with that of the direct iodine preparation and formol-ether concentration methods for examination of stool parasites. Feleke Moges, Yeshambel Belyhun, Moges Tiruneh, Yenew Kebede, Andargachew Mulu, Afework Kassu and Kahsay Huruy
Book review
pdf Water Resources Management in Ethiopia: Implications for the Nile Basin. Edited by: Helmut Kloos and Worku Legesse. Reviewed by: Abera Kumie
ISSN 1021-6790

Grammar and Glamour

Although I do some writing, I often find it difficult to write good papers. English is not my native language, and at school, grammar was not my favourite subject.

But, everyone can benefit from improved writing skills at work, at home, online, you name it.

I often use Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style.” But now another book is my favourite:  “The Glamour of Grammar,” by Roy Peter Clark, which a book review in The New York Times says “is very much a manual for the 21st century”.

I recently read this fascinating book. To be honest, this is the only grammar book I have read from beginning to end, and I will use it to improve my language. I learned that for the good writer, no decision is too small, including whether to use “a” or “the”.

I did not associate the word grammar with glamour. The author explains: “The bridge between the words glamour and grammar is magic. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, glamour evolved from grammar through an ancient association between learning and enchantment. There was a time when grammar described not just language knowledge, but all forms of learning, ..”

The book is not only about grammar: it is about improving writing. Each chapter ends with “keepsakes” (reminders), where the author summarises important points and keeps things informal enough and thus avoids sounding like a textbook.

Open Access Journals

ResearchBlogging.orgAbout 10 years ago, some scientists started an ‘open access’ campaign for free journals funded by author fees. A reason to start the open access journals was to make scientific publications available for researchers in developing countries. Can we after 10 years say that researchers in the poorer countries have benefited from this exercise?

The two most important publishers are Public Library of Science (with six journals) and BioMedCentral (with 206 journals). By various measures about 10% of all biomedical journals are now open access. PLoSONE expects to publish about 7500 papers this year, making it the world’s largest journal in terms of volume.

A review in 2009 shows an 8% citation advantage for open-access articles, although the rate was higher in developing countries (Evand and Reimer, 2009).From personal experience I have learned that Ethiopian researchers try to publish in open access journals. This is a natural development because they are exempted from paying the processing fees.

Another benefit for researchers in developing countries is that many of the open access journals have a good citation index, showing that research papers are widely read and cited.

However, there is also a weakness in the open access publishing for developing countries. Unfortunately, the scientific literature the researchers read and cite is often limited to articles found in open access journals. This may result in a selective reading of researchers and students.

So researchers in the poor countries need to have better access to read journals. Unfortunately, initiatives as HINARI are often limited to a few individuals and to libraries.

Evans, J., & Reimer, J. (2009). Open Access and Global Participation in Science Science, 323 (5917), 1025-1025 DOI: 10.1126/science.1154562