Researchers in Kenya have confirmed the presence of a new species of malaria-transmitting mosquito that was initially identified in the Eastern African nation of Djibouti in 2012.
The parasite plasmodium vivax, which causes the most severe form of malaria, can be transmitted by the newly discovered carrier mosquito Anopheles stephensi, which can survive in a variety of climes.
Kenya’s Medical Research Institute (KMRI) asked citizens to wear mosquito nets this week and to remove any potential breeding grounds for the mosquito, which is already present in South Sudan, Ethiopia, and other Asian nations.
As the mosquito appeared in neighboring nations, according to KMRI’s chief researcher Bernhards Ogutu, it was just a matter of time before the new malaria carrier was found in Kenya.
The Asia and Kenyan native plasmodium vivax has been impossible for us to obtain. It exists in Ethiopia, and this vector can spread it as well, according to Mr. Ogutu.
“So that will also look at whether we might have plasmodium vivax in coming up with this new vector displaying in our place,” the KMRI chief researcher continued. Vivax is more challenging to treat because it keeps lingering in the body and the liver, making it possible to receive treatment and recover.
The World Health Organization estimates that over 250,000 children die from malaria each year, with more than 10,000 occurring in Kenya alone. The most recent finding jeopardizes Kenya’s progress in the fight against mosquito-borne parasites.