Epidemic risk of arboviral diseases: Determining the habitats, spatial-temporal distribution, and abundance of immature Aedes aegypti in the Urban and Rural areas of Zanzibar, Tanzania

Fatma Saleh, Fatma Saleh ,Jovin Kitau, Flemming Konradsen, Ayubo Kampango, Rahibu Abassi, Karin Linda Schiøler, Jovin Kitau, Flemming Konradsen, Ayubo Kampango, Rahibu Abassi, Karin Linda Schiøler
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In Zanzibar, little is known about the arboviral disease vector Aedes aegypti in terms of abundance, spatio-temporal distribution of its larval habitats or factors associated with its proliferation. Effective control of the vector requires knowledge on ecology and habitat characteristics and is currently the only available option for reducing the risk of arboviral epidemics in the island nation of Zanzibar.


We conducted entomological surveys in households and surrounding compounds from February to May 2018 in the urban (Mwembemakumbi and Chumbuni) and rural (Chuini and Kama) Shehias (lowest government administrative unit) situated in the Urban-West region of Unguja island, Zanzibar. Larvae and pupae were collected, transported to the insectary, reared to adult, and identified to species level. Characteristics and types of water containers were also recorded on site. Generalized linear mixed models with binomial and negative binomial distributions were applied to determine factors associated with presence of Ae. aegypti immatures (i.e. both larvae and pupae) or pupae, alone and significant predictors of the abundance of immature Ae. aegypti or pupae, respectively.


The survey provided evidence of widespread presence and abundance of Ae. aegypti mosquitoes in both urban and rural settings of Unguja Island. Interestingly, rural setting had higher numbers of infested containers, all immatures, and pupae than urban setting. Likewise, higher House and Breteau indices were recorded in rural compared to the urban setting. There was no statistically significant difference in Stegomyia indices between seasons across settings. Plastics, metal containers and car tires were identified as the most productive habitats which collectively produced over 90% of all Ae. aegypti pupae. Water storage, sun exposure, vegetation, and organic matter were significant predictors of the abundance of immature Ae. aegypti.


Widespread presence and abundance of Ae. aegypti were found in rural and urban areas of Unguja, the main island of Zanzibar. Information on productive habitats and predictors of colonization of water containers are important for the development of a routine Aedes surveillance system and targeted control interventions in Zanzibar and similar settings.