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Influence of landscape heterogeneity on entomological and parasitological indices of malaria in Kisumu, Western Kenya



Identification and characterization of larval habitats, documentation of Anopheles spp. composition and abundance, and Plasmodium spp. infection burden are critical components of integrated vector management. The present study aimed to investigate the effect of landscape heterogeneity on entomological and parasitological indices of malaria in western Kenya.


A cross-sectional entomological and parasitological survey was conducted along an altitudinal transect in three eco-epidemiological zones: lakeshore along the lakeside, hillside, and highland plateau during the wet and dry seasons in 2020 in Kisumu County, Kenya. Larval habitats for Anopheles mosquitoes were identified and characterized. Adult mosquitoes were sampled using pyrethrum spray catches (PSC). Finger prick blood samples were taken from residents and examined for malaria parasites by real-time PCR (RT-PCR).


Increased risk of Plasmodium falciparum infection was associated with residency in the lakeshore zone, school-age children, rainy season, and no ITNs (χ2 = 41.201, df = 9, P < 0.0001). Similarly, lakeshore zone and the rainy season significantly increased Anopheles spp. abundance. However, house structures such as wall type and whether the eave spaces were closed or open, as well as the use of ITNs, did not affect Anopheles spp. densities in the homes (χ2 = 38.695, df = 7, P < 0.0001). Anopheles funestus (41.8%) and An. arabiensis (29.1%) were the most abundant vectors in all zones. Sporozoite prevalence was 5.6% and 3.2% in the two species respectively. The lakeshore zone had the highest sporozoite prevalence (4.4%, 7/160) and inoculation rates (135.2 infective bites/person/year). High larval densities were significantly associated with lakeshore zone and hillside zones, animal hoof prints and tire truck larval habitats, wetland and pasture land, and the wet season. The larval habitat types differed significantly across the landscape zones and seasonality (χ2 = 1453.044, df = 298, P < 0.0001).


The empirical evidence on the impact of landscape heterogeneity and seasonality on vector densities, parasite transmission, and Plasmodium infections in humans emphasizes the importance of tailoring specific adaptive environmental management interventions to specific landscape attributes to have a significant impact on transmission reduction.

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