Orient Journal of Medicine

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Malaria: Entomological Aspect

Mark C Eluwa


Preamble: “Of all the ills that afflict mankind few have taken a higher toll than malaria”1.

Known vectors: Of the three generae in the mosquito tribe Anophilini, only the genus Anopheles contains species of medical importance. Of the 400 species or so of Anopheles known, few members are established as sole transmitters of malaria: they are thus the most important vectors of human disease in the world. Gordon & Lavoipierre2 lists some 25 species of Anopheles as capable of feeding on man. No more than 10 species of Anopheles act as transmitters in any one continent, with one or two species only serving as the main transmitters of malaria.

The West African species, A. gambiae (described as highly anthropophilic) and A. funestus (described as markedly anthropophilic) have wide distribution in the zone as well as in Africa and indeed are the major transmitters. A. melas is the West African salt water form. A. nili, A. moucheti, A. hargreavesi, A. melas and A. hancocki are vectors of malaria only in limited areas of West Africa.

As of today, only 4 species of Plasmodium namely, P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale and P. malariae are recognized as causing malaria in man. P. ovale is the rarest type and seems confined to West Coast of Africa, where it produces mild infection. P. falciparum and its relative P. reichenowi of Chimpanzees and gorillas constitute simian malaria.

Key Words: Malaria, Malaria Vectors, Malaria Entomology

Orient Journal of Medicine Vol.16(2) 2004: 31-37
AJOL African Journals Online