Insecticide resistance in Southwest Ethiopia

The greater tendency of An. arabiensis to feed on cattle justifies the application of insecticides on cattle to provide a significant protection from malaria infection. But, An. arabiensis has already developed resistance to the available insecticides, and alternative insecticides are needed.

Massebo F, Balkew M, Gebre-Michael T and Lindtjørn B. Blood meal origins and insecticide susceptibility of Anopheles arabiensis from Chano in South-West Ethiopia. Parasites & Vectors 2013, 6:44 doi:10.1186/1756-3305-6-44

Background  Anopheles arabiensis, the main malaria vector in Ethiopia, shows both anthropophilic and zoophilic behaviours. Insecticide resistance is increasing, and alternative methods of vector control are needed. The objectives of this study were to determine the blood meal origins and the susceptibility to insecticides of An. arabiensis from Chano village near Arba Minch in South-West Ethiopia.

Methods  Blood meal sources of anopheline mosquitoes collected using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) light traps and pyrethrum spray catches (PSC) from human dwellings, and hand-held mouth aspirators from outdoor pit shelters were analysed using a direct enzyme-linked-immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The susceptibility of An. arabiensis to pyrethroid insecticides (alphacypermethrin, lambdacyhalothrin, deltamethrin, and cyfluthrin) and DDT was assessed using females reared from larval and pupal collections from natural breeding sites.

Results  The blood meal origins of 2967 freshly fed Anopheles mosquitoes were determined. An. arabiensis was the predominant species (75%), and it fed mainly on cattle. The densities of both freshly fed An. arabiensis and those fed on human blood followed similar seasonal patterns. The overall human blood index (HBI) of An. arabiensis, including mixed blood meals, was 44% and the bovine blood index (BBI) was 69%. The HBI of An. arabiensis from CDC light trap collections was 75% and this was higher than those for PSC (38%) and outdoor pit shelter collections (13%), while the BBI was 65% for PSC, 68% for outdoor pit shelters and 72% for CDC light traps. More freshly fed and human blood-fed An. arabiensis were sampled from houses close to the shore of Lake Abaya (the major breeding site). A high proportion of An. arabiensis was resistant to the pyrethroid insecticides, with a mortality rate of 56% for lambdacyhalothrin, 50% for cyfluthrin and alphacypermethrin, 47% for deltamethrin, and 10% for DDT.

Conclusion  Anopheles arabiensis is the predominant species of anopheline mosquito in this region, and cattle are the main source of its blood meals. The greater tendency of this species to feed on cattle justifies the application of insecticides on cattle to control it. However, An. arabiensis has already developed resistance to the available pyrethroid insecticides, and alternative insecticides are needed for malaria vector control.