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New Mosquito Species, Anopheles Stephensi, Detected in Ghana

In a recent development, the Ghana Health Service has confirmed the presence of a new mosquito vector species, Anopheles stephensi, in the country. The confirmation came from samples taken in Tuba and Dansoman, Greater Accra, as part of the routine malaria surveillance system and vector control monitoring done across the country.

Anopheles stephensi, a malaria-transmitting mosquito species, was first identified in South Asia and parts of the Arabian Peninsula until its invasion of Africa was alerted by the World Health Organization in 2019. The mosquito species has since been identified in several African countries, including Djibouti, Ethiopia, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Nigeria, and Yemen.

Anopheles stephensi is unique in its ability to breed in a variety of sources, including ponds, swamps, marshes, artificial containers, and other man-made container spots. It can breed in almost all water sources, some of which are not traditional breeding sites for common Anopheles species, especially in urban areas. Additionally, the mosquito species can survive in extremely high temperatures during the dry season when malaria transmission usually declines, making it a challenging vector to control.

To combat the spread of Anopheles stephensi in Ghana, a task force has been formed to advise and coordinate the following actions:

  1. Enhance larval source management nationwide, especially where Anopheles stephensi was detected.
  2. Enhance vector surveillance on Anopheles stephensi per the updated vector control guideline.
  3. Improve the country’s laboratory and human capacity to identify Anopheles stephensi.
  4. Collaborate with WHO to update the Vector Map.
  5. Intensify community engagement and sensitization at all levels.

The Ghana Health Service advises the public to take the following measures:

  1. Source reduction: a. Remove water collection points in and around their homes and communities to minimize breeding sites for this new mosquito species. b. Cover all water containers to avoid mosquito breeding.
  2. Mosquito bite prevention a. Use insecticide-treated nets to protect against indoor mosquito bites. b. Personal Protection: Use repellents and wear clothing that protects from mosquito bites outside their homes. c. Screen doors and windows of rooms.

The Ghana Health Service calls on all partners to support in intensifying sensitization, particularly on environmental management, to reduce breeding sites for all forms of mosquitoes in the country while continuously monitoring the spread of Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes.

As a responsible media outlet, we at 99Science emphasize the importance of staying informed and taking preventive measures against malaria transmission. We will continue to provide updates on the situation as they develop.

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