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The World Health Organization (WHO) launches a new initiative to stop the spread of the invasive malaria vector in Africa

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  In a 2019 vector alert the WHO identified the spread of Anopheles stephensi as a major threat to malaria control and elimination particularly in Africa where the disease hits hardest A new WHO initiative launched today aims to stop the spread of this invasive mosquito species in the region Native to parts of South Asia and the Arabian Peninsula An stephensi has been expanding its range over the past decade with reported detections in Djibouti 2012 Ethiopia and Sudan 2016 Somalia 2019 and Nigeria 2020 Unlike the other main malaria vector mosquitoes in Africa it thrives in urban settings With more than 40 of Africa s population living in urban settings the invasion and spread of An stephensi could pose a significant threat to malaria control and elimination in the region But large scale surveillance of the vector is still in its infancy and more research and data are urgently needed We are still learning about the presence of Anopheles stephensi and its role in malaria transmission in Africa said Dr Jan Kolaczinski who heads the Vector Control and Insecticide Resistance unit of the Global Malaria Program at the WHO It s important to stress that we still don t know how far the mosquito species has spread and how problematic it is or could be The new WHO initiative aims to support an effective regional response to An stephensi on the African continent through a five pronged approach increasing collaboration across sectors and borders strengthen surveillance to determine the extent of the spread of An stephensi and its role in transmission improve the exchange of information on the presence of An stephensi and on efforts to control it develop guidance for national malaria control programs on appropriate ways to respond to An stephensi by prioritizing research to assess the impact of interventions and tools against An stephensi Integrated action is key to success Provided that Where feasible national responses to An stephensi should be integrated with efforts to control malaria and other vector borne diseases such as dengue yellow fever and chikungunya The WHO Global Vector Control Response 2017 2030 provides a framework to investigate and implement such integration Integrated action will be key to success against Anopheles stephensi and other vector borne diseases said Dr Ebenezer Baba Malaria Advisor for the WHO African Region Shifting our focus to locally adapted and integrated vector control can save both money and lives he added Tracking the spread of Anopheles stephensi The WHO malaria threat map includes a section dedicated to invasive vectors including An stephensi All confirmed reports of the presence of An stephensi should be reported to WHO to allow open data sharing and an up to date understanding of its distribution and spread This knowledge will ultimately provide a basis for evaluating the effectiveness of any efforts to control or eliminate An stephensi
The World Health Organization (WHO) launches a new initiative to stop the spread of the invasive malaria vector in Africa

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South Asia

In a 2019 vector alert, the WHO identified the spread of Anopheles stephensi as a major threat to malaria control and elimination, particularly in Africa, where the disease hits hardest.

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A new WHO initiative, launched today, aims to stop the spread of this invasive mosquito species in the region.

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Native to parts of South Asia and the Arabian Peninsula, An. stephensi has been expanding its range over the past decade, with reported detections in Djibouti (2012), Ethiopia and Sudan (2016), Somalia (2019), and Nigeria (2020).

Unlike the other main malaria vector mosquitoes in Africa, it thrives in urban settings.

With more than 40% of Africa’s population living in urban settings, the invasion and spread of An. stephensi could pose a significant threat to malaria control and elimination in the region.

But large-scale surveillance of the vector is still in its infancy, and more research and data are urgently needed.

“We are still learning about the presence of Anopheles stephensi and its role in malaria transmission in Africa,” said Dr. Jan Kolaczinski, who heads the Vector Control and Insecticide Resistance unit of the Global Malaria Program at the WHO.

“It’s important to stress that we still don’t know how far the mosquito species has spread and how problematic it is or could be.”

The new WHO initiative aims to support an effective regional response to An. stephensi on the African continent through a five-pronged approach: increasing collaboration across sectors and borders; strengthen surveillance to determine the extent of the spread of An. stephensi and its role in transmission; improve the exchange of information on the presence of An. stephensi and on efforts to control it; develop guidance for national malaria control programs on appropriate ways to respond to An. stephensi by prioritizing research to assess the impact of interventions and tools against An. stephensi Integrated action is “key to success” Provided that Where feasible, national responses to An. stephensi should be integrated with efforts to control malaria and other vector-borne diseases, such as dengue, yellow fever, and chikungunya.

The WHO Global Vector Control Response 2017-2030 provides a framework to investigate and implement such integration.

“Integrated action will be key to success against Anopheles stephensi and other vector-borne diseases,” said Dr. Ebenezer Baba, Malaria Advisor for the WHO African Region.

“Shifting our focus to locally adapted and integrated vector control can save both money and lives,” he added.

Tracking the spread of Anopheles stephensi The WHO malaria threat map includes a section dedicated to invasive vectors, including An. stephensi.

All confirmed reports of the presence of An. stephensi should be reported to WHO to allow open data sharing and an up-to-date understanding of its distribution and spread.

This knowledge will ultimately provide a basis for evaluating the effectiveness of any efforts to control or eliminate An. stephensi.

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