Malaria entomological profile in Tanzania from 1950 to 2010: a review of mosquito distribution, vectorial capacity and insecticide resistance

Bilali Kabula, Yahya A. Derua, Patrick Kija Tungu, Dennis J. Massue, Edward Sambu, Grades Stanley, Franklin W. Mosha, William N. Kisinza
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In Sub Saharan Africa where most of the malaria cases and deaths occur, members of the Anopheles gambiae species complex and Anopheles funestus species group are the important malaria vectors. Control efforts against these vectors in Tanzania like in most other Sub Saharan countries have failed to achieve the set objectives of eliminating transmission due to scarcity of information about the enormous diversity of Anopheles mosquito species and their susceptibility status to insecticides used for malaria vector control. Understanding the diversity and insecticide susceptibility status of these vectors and other factors relating to their importance as vectors (such as malaria transmission dynamics, vector biology, ecology, behaviour and population genetics) is crucial to developing a better and sound intervention strategies that will reduce man-vector contact and also manage the emergency of insecticide resistance early and hence a success in malaria control. The objective of this review was therefore to obtain the information from published and unpublished documents on spatial distribution and composition of malaria vectors, key features of their behaviour, transmission indices and susceptibility status to insecticides in Tanzania. All data available were collated into a database. Details recorded for each data source were the locality, latitude/longitude, time/period of study, species, abundance, sampling/collection methods, species identification methods, insecticide resistance status, including evidence of the kdr allele, and Plasmodium  falciparum sporozoite rate. This collation resulted in a total of 368 publications, encompassing 806,273 Anopheles mosquitoes from 157 geo-referenced locations being collected and identified across Tanzania from 1950s to 2010. Overall, the vector species most often reported included An. gambiae complex (66.8%), An. funestus complex (21.8%), An. gambiae s.s. (2.1%) and An. arabiensis (9%). A variety of sampling/collection and species identification methods were used with an increase in molecular techniques in recent decades. Only 32.2% and 8.4% of the data sets reported on sporozoite analysis and entomological inoculation rate (EIR), respectively which highlights the paucity of such important information in the country. Studies demonstrated efficacy of all four major classes of insecticides against malaria vectors in Tanzania with focal points showing phenotypic resistance. About 95% of malaria entomological data was obtained from north- eastern Tanzania. This shows the disproportionate nature of the available information with the western part of the country having none. Therefore it is important for the country to establish entomological surveillance system with state of the art to capture all vitally important entomological indices including vector bionomics in areas of Tanzania where very few or no studies have been done. This is vital in planning and implementing evidence based malaria vector control programmes as well as in monitoring the current malaria control interventions.