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Rift Valley fever potential mosquito vectors and their infection status in Ngorongoro District in northern Tanzania

Athanas D. Mhina
Christopher J. Kasanga
Calvin Sindato
Esron D. Karimuribo
Leonard E.G. Mboera


Background: Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a mosquito-borne viral zoonotic disease. Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) has been isolated from more than 40 species of mosquitoes from eight genera. This study was conducted to determine the abundance of potential mosquito vectors and their RVFV infection status in Ngorongoro District of northern Tanzania.

Methods: Adult mosquitoes were collected outdoors using the CDC light traps baited with carbon dioxide in five randomly selected villages namely, Meshili, Malambo, Osinoni, Endulen and Nainokanoka. The study was carried out towards the end of rainy season in May 2013. The traps were set in proximity to potential breeding sites and cattle kraals. The collected mosquitoes were identified to genus and species using morphological keys. They were tested for RVFV RNA  using  real time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR).

Results: A total of 2,094 adult mosquitoes belonging to three genera and nine species were collected. Most of them (87.5%) were collected in Meshili, followed by Malambo (8.2%) and Osinoni (4%) villages. No single mosquito was collected in Nainokanoka or Endulen. The nine species collected were Culex pipiens complex, Cx. antennatus, Cx. tigripes, Cx. annulioris, Cx. cinereus, Anopheles arabiensis, An. squamosus, An. pharoensis and Mansonia uniformis. No RVFV RNA was detected in the mosquito specimens.

Conclusion: Various RVFV potential mosquito species were collected from the study villages. These mosquito vectors were heterogeneously distributed in the district suggesting a variation in RVF transmission risk in the study area.