Seasonal abundance, vector behavior, and malaria parasite transmission in Eritrea

Josephat Shililu, Tewolde Ghebremeskel, Fessahaye Seulu, Solomon Mengistu, Helen Fekadu, Mehari Zerom, G. E. Asmelash, David Sintasath, Charles Mbogo, John Githure, Eugene Brantly, John C. Beier, Robert J. Novak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Entomological studies were conducted over a 24-month period in 8 villages to establish the behavior patterns, seasonal densities, and variation in entomological inoculation rates (EIRs) of Anopheles arabiensis, the main vector of malaria in Eritrea. A total of 5,683 anopheline mosquitoes were collected through indoor sampling (1,613), human-landing catches (2,711), and outdoor pit shelters (1,359). Overall, An. arabiensis was the predominant species at all of the study sites, with its population density increasing during the rainy season. Peak indoor-resting densities was observed during September and October. Human landing indices for An. arabiensis averaged 1.9 and 3.8 per person per night in October and September, respectively. Peak biting and landing rates occurred between 2000-2200 h and 0100-0300 h. Of the total number of bites, 44.7% occurred between 1800 and 2300 h, and at least 56.5% of the total bites occurred outdoors, indicating that the species was partially exophagic. The fed to gravid ratio for An. arabiensis in indoor-resting collections was 2:1, indicating some degree of exophily. The sporozoite rates (SRs) for An. arabiensis ranged from 0.54% in the Anseba zone to 1.3% in the Gash-Barka zone. One mosquito each of An. d'thali (SR = 0.45%) and An. cinereus (SR = 2.13%) was found to be positive. Of the total positive An. arabiensis (n = 64), 18.2% came from human-landing collections outdoors. Blood-meal analysis by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for An. arabiensis indicated that this species was partially zoophilic with a human to bovine ratio of 2:1 being recorded. The EIR profiles indicated that malaria transmission is highly seasonal, increasing during the wet season and declining drastically during the dry season. On average, the greatest risk of infection occurs in Hiletsidi, in the Gash-Barka zone (6.5 infective bites per month). The exophilic behavior and early evening biting of An. arabiensis present obstacles for control with treated bed-nets and indoor residual spraying within the context of integrated malaria control, and call for greater focus on strategies such as larval control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-164
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Mosquito Control Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2004


  • Anopheles arabiensis
  • Entomological inoculation rate
  • Seasonal density
  • Vector behavior
  • Vector control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Seasonal abundance, vector behavior, and malaria parasite transmission in Eritrea'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this