As a new species of the malaria-spreading mosquito was found in Kenya, the country now runs the risk of losing the advances it has made in the fight against the disease.
Researchers from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri), in conjunction with the Ministry of Health’s Directorate of National Malaria Programme, found the species, Anopheles Stephensi (DNMP).
The species was discovered in the subcounties of Laisamis and Saku in Marsabit, and it was later validated in the Kemri laboratory.
KEMRI reported in a statement that the quickly proliferating species was found during normal mosquito surveillance.
“Unfortunately, the detection in Kenya, may translate to higher malaria transmission in urban and peri urban settings in the country, posing a serious threat that could reverse the gains made in the fight against malaria,” adds Kemri’s statement.
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The frequency of malaria in Kenya is 5.8%, according to the Kenya Malaria Indicator Survey of 2020.
Each year, the nation reports 10,700 fatalities and 3.5 million new clinical cases.
“Kemri and the Ministry of Health has put in place efforts in research activities in Laimsamis and Saku Sub counties of Marsabit County where the anopheles stephansi vector samples were first detected and confirmed through laboratory essays at Kemri,” reads a section of a report by Kemri
Kenya is now the sixth nation on the African continent that the species has invaded.
Djibouti, Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, and Nigeria are among the nations where an invasion of the mosquito species has reportedly occurred.