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01.12.2017 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Malaria Journal 1/2017

Entomological characterization of malaria in northern Colombia through vector and parasite species identification, and analyses of spatial distribution and infection rates

Malaria Journal > Ausgabe 1/2017
Camila González, Astrid Gisell Molina, Cielo León, Nicolás Salcedo, Silvia Rondón, Andrea Paz, Maria Claudia Atencia, Catalina Tovar, Mario Ortiz
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12936-017-2076-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Malaria remains a worldwide public health concern and, in Colombia, despite the efforts to stop malaria transmission, the incidence of cases has increased over the last few years. In this context, it is necessary to evaluate vector diversity, infection rates, and spatial distribution, to better understand disease transmission dynamics. This information may contribute to the planning and development of vector control strategies.


A total of 778 Anopheles mosquitoes were collected in fifteen localities of Córdoba from August 2015 to October 2016. Six species were identified and overall, Anopheles albimanus was the most widespread and abundant species (83%). Other species of the Nyssorhynchus subgenus were collected, including Anopheles triannulatus (13%), Anopheles nuneztovari (1%), Anopheles argyritarsis (< 1%) and two species belonging to the Anopheles subgenus: Anopheles pseudopunctipennis (3%) and Anopheles neomaculipalpus (< 1%). Four species were found naturally infected with two Plasmodium species: Anopheles nuneztovari was detected naturally infected with Plasmodium falciparum and Anopheles pseudopunctipennis with Plasmodium vivax, whereas An. albimanus and An. triannulatus were found infected with both parasite species and confirmed by nested PCR.


In general, the obtained results were contrasting with previous studies in terms of the most abundant and widespread collected species, and regarding infection rates, which were higher than those previously reported. A positive relationship between mosquito local abundance at the locality level and human infection at the municipality level was found. Mosquito local abundance and the number of houses with mosquitoes in each village are factors explaining malaria human cases in these villages. The obtained results suggest that other factors related to the apparent variation in malaria eco-epidemiology in northern Colombia, must be identified, to provide health authorities with better decision tools aiming to design control and prevention strategies.
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