Malaria transmission dynamics in central Côte d'Ivoire: the influence of changing patterns of irrigated rice agriculture

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The dynamics of malaria transmission was studied comparatively in the villages of Zatta and Tiémélékro, central Côte d'Ivoire, from February 2002 to August 2003. Prominent agroecosystems in these villages are irrigated rice growing and vegetable farming, respectively. Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) were collected on human bait at night and by pyrethrum knock-down spray sheet collections at four randomly selected sentinel sites in each village. In 2002, for a total of 96 man-nights per village, 7716 mosquitoes were collected in Zatta and 3308 in Tiémélékro. In 2003, with half the sampling effort, 859 and 2056 mosquitoes were collected in Zatta and Tiémélékro, respectively. Anopheles gambiae Giles s.l. was the predominant mosquito and the key malaria vector throughout, followed by An. funestus Giles. Anthropophily among adult female Anopheles exceeded 95% in both villages. Comparison between years revealed that the biting rate of An. gambiae s.l. in Zatta decreased several-fold from 49.3 bites per person per night (b/p/n) in 2002 to 7.9 b/p/n in 2003 (likelihood ratio test (LRT) = 1072.66; P < 0.001). Although the biting rate remained fairly constant in Tiémélékro, the difference between years was significant (16.1 vs. 18.2 b/p/n; LRT = 148.06; P < 0.001). These observations were paralleled by a marked decrease in the infective rate of An. gambiae s.l. in Zatta (4.6–1.2%), and an increase in Tiémélékro (3.1–7.6%). Meanwhile, the entomological inoculation rate of An. gambiae s.l. decreased 21-fold in Zatta, from 789 to 38 infective bites per person per year (ib/p/y), whereas it remained high in Tiémélékro (233 vs. 342 ib/p/y). The interruption of irrigated rice growing in Zatta in 2003, consequential to a farmers' conflict over land, might be the underlying cause for the significant reduction in malaria transmission, whereas more stable conditions occurred in Tiémélékro.

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