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J Trop Med Hyg. 1991 Oct;94(5):313-24.

Ability of Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes to transmit malaria during the dry and wet seasons in an area of irrigated rice cultivation in The Gambia.

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  • 1Medical Research Council Laboratories, Fajara, The Gambia.


The seasonality of malaria transmission was studied in a Gambian village situated in an area where rice was cultivated. Observations were made during two dry seasons, when pump-fed irrigation was used to grow rice, and in the intervening rainy season, when rice was cultivated using a combination of irrigated and rain-fed paddies. Clinical episodes of malaria were mainly confined to the months during and soon after the rainy season. In the wet season the prevalence of parasitaemia was higher in febrile subjects than in afebrile controls but the reverse applied during the dry seasons. However, the biting rates of Anopheles gambiae complex mosquitoes in the two dry seasons (2.5 and 0.8 bites/child/night respectively) were greater than or similar to that in the rainy season (0.6 bites/child/night). The proportion of human bloodmeals (0.53 vs 0.75) and the survival of mosquitoes (parity rates of 0.41 vs 0.58) were both lower in the dry seasons than in the rains. The low prevalence of morbidity due to malaria in the dry season and the observed fall in the sporozoite rate may therefore have been due to a reduction in the vectorial capacity of the An. gambiae population. However, reduced transmission in the dry season may also have been due to the direct effect of high temperatures on the parasite in the vector.

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