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Prevalence of sibling-species of Anopheles (Cellia) fluviatilis complex in Himachal Pradesh, India

1 Environmental Epidemiology Division, National Institute of Malaria Research- Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi, India
2 Kangra Study Site, National Institute of Malaria Research- Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
RC Dhiman,
Environmental Epidemiology Division, Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Malaria Research, Dwarka Sector-8, New Delhi-11007
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-9062.321745

Background and objectives: Malaria is one of the most infectious and life-threatening vector borne disease in the tropics. Climate change can significantly influence malaria epidemiology and expansion of malaria vectors to hilly regions of Himachal Pradesh, India hitherto considered areas of low transmission. Entomological surveillance in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh revealed high density of a proven efficient vector of malaria, Anopheles fluviatilis, but transmission intensity of malaria was found very low. It was, therefore, considered prudent to investigate the sibling-species composition of An. fluviatilis complex in Kangra valley to ascertain their role in transmission of malaria. Methods: The study was undertaken in six villages in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India. A total of 4446 mosquitoes were collected during the one-year study period (2018) and processed in pools of ten for molecular characterization. DNA extraction and multiplex PCR was performed on 900 An. fluviatilis mosquitoes for differentiation of sibling-species. ELISA was used to detect Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax circumsporozoite proteins in 3790 An. fluviatilis samples. Results: Among prevalent mosquito species, An. fluviatilis was the predominant species constituting 69.5% of total mosquito collection. Sibling-species U was found in 92.22% and species T in 7.78% samples assayed. ELISA confirmed the absence of evidence of malaria parasite in any of the An. fluviatilis mosquitoes screened. Based on the difference in the sequences of conserved regions of the 28SrDNA, sibling-species U was confirmed as prevalent in the study villages. Interpretation and conclusion : This study revealed that in Kangra district, An. fluviatilis sibling-species U is predominant followed by species T, and both are non-vectors. The absence of malaria parasite and zoophagic nature of An. fluviatilis established through blood meal analysis, confirmed that both U and T are non-vector sibling-species.

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