Date of Award

January 2015

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

School of Public Health

First Advisor

Sunil Parikh

Abstract

Bhutan is aggressively embarking on a path towards malaria elimination. Despite substantial progress, Bhutan remains vulnerable to imported malaria. The majority of cases are in Sarpang district, which shares a border with the state of Assam in India. However, the anopheline species responsible for autochthonous malaria transmission have not been well characterized. Therefore, a comparison of the Anopheles species in Sarpang was made with published records of anopheline mosquitoes in neighboring Assam. An assessment of Anopheles species composition was undertaken from June to July 2014 in four Sarpang villages adjacent to the Sarpang-Assam border. Five sampling methods were employed: (1) human landing catches, (2) cattle-baited catches, (3) CDC light traps, (4) indoor resting catches and (5) resting boxes. Female anopheline mosquitoes were identified to species using a morphological key. These results were compared to published literature on anopheline ecology and vectorial roles in Assam. The two suspected malaria vectors in Bhutan, Anopheles culicifacies (n=189) and An. pseudowillmori (n=205), were abundant in the Sarpang villages. However, in Assam, only An. culicifacies species B, a relatively incompetent vector, has been documented. In contrast, the primary malaria vectors of Assam, An. minimus and An. baimaii, were absent in the Sarpang collections. If An. culicifacies is not a competent vector in Sarpang, the other recovered species – An. pseudowillmori and An. maculatus – may be the responsible vectors for malaria transmission in Sarpang. Nonetheless, molecular methods are required to identify members of several sibling species complex in this region; however, adequate equipment and additional training of personnel will be necessary to address this difficulty.

Comments

This is an Open Access Thesis.

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