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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 53  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 264-271

Role of An. culicifacies as a vector of malaria in changing ecological scenario of Northeastern states of India

1 National Institute of Malaria Research (ICMR), New Delhi, India
2 Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
B N Nagpal
Scientist 'G', GIS, Taxonomy and OVBD Division, National Institute of Malaria Research, Dwarka, Sector-8, New Delhi-110 077
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 27681550

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Background & objectives: Malaria has become endemic and subject of concern in most part of the India especially Northeastern states of India. Surveys before 2000 revealed that Anopheles minimus was major vector responsible for transmission of malaria in this region followed by An. dirus and An. fluviatilis. However, recent studies indicate replacement of An. minimus vector by An. culicifacies due to different ecological changes and change in landuse pattern etc. The objective of present study was to explore the vectorial role of An. culicifacies in transmission of malaria in four malaria endemic states, viz. Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur and Sikkim of India. Methods: The seven surveys were conducted in 176 selected villages belonging to eight districts of the four states in both pre-monsoon (March-April) and post-monsoon (September-October) seasons from 2010 to 2013. However, in 2011 surveys could not be carried out due to public inconvenience in pre-monsoon season. For vectorial role of all vector species collected, ELISA and PCR were assayed. Results: A total of 19,173 specimens belonging to 30 anopheline species were collected, out of which 4315 belonged to four established vector species. In total, 4183 specimens were processed through ELISA, out of which 236 specimens were found positive for circumsporozoite (CS) protein. Further, infectivity was confirmed by PCR in 35 samples, of which 12 samples were found positive for Plasmodium falciparum and three for P. vivax. Out of 12 Plasmodium falciparum positive samples, nine samples were positive for An. culicifacies, two for An. fluviatilis and one for An. minimus. While out of three Plasmodium vivax positive samples, two samples were positive for An. dirus and one sample was positive for An. culicifacies. Interpretation & conclusion: Anopheles culicifacies replaced the An. minimus, the vector of malaria in Northeastern states of India, as it was found to be highly infected with malaria parasite as compared to An. minimus by ELISA and PCR analysis, and thus playing a major role in malaria transmission in this region. The ecological changes like deforestation, development of irrigation channels and change in landuse pattern, have helped in evolution of An. culicifacies in the study area. Therefore, modified vector control strategies are required on urgent basis.

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