Indexed on: 15 Dec '10Published on: 15 Dec '10Published in: Parasites & Vectors
Urban agricultural practices are expanding in several cities of the Republic of Benin. This study aims to assess the impact of such practices on transmission of the malaria parasite in major cities of Benin.A cross sectional entomological study was carried out from January to December 2009 in two vegetable farming sites in southern Benin (Houeyiho and Acron) and one in the northern area (Azèrèkè). The study was based on sampling of mosquitoes by Human Landing Catches (HLC) in households close to the vegetable farms and in others located far from the farms.During the year of study, 71,678 female mosquitoes were caught by HLC of which 25% (17,920/71,678) were Anopheles species. In the areas surveyed, the main malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum was transmitted in the south by Anopheles gambiae s.s. Transmission was high during the two rainy seasons (April to July and October to November) but declined in the two dry seasons (December to March and August to September). In the north, transmission occurred from June to October during the rainy season and was vehicled by two members of the An. gambiae complex: Anopheles gambiae s.s. (98%) and Anopheles arabiensis (2%).At Houeyiho, Acron and Azèrèkè, the Entomological Inoculation Rates (EIRs) and the Human Biting Rates (HBRs) were significantly higher during the dry season in Households Close to Vegetable Farms (HCVF) than in those located far from the vegetable areas (HFVF) (p < 0.05.). However, there were no significant differences in HBRs or EIRs between HCFV and HFVF during the rainy seasons at these sites (p > 0.05).The knock-down resistance (kdr) mutation was the main resistance mechanism detected at high frequency (0.86 to 0.91) in An. gambiae s.l. at all sites. The ace-1R mutation was also found but at a very low frequency (< 0.1).These findings showed that communities living close to vegetable farms are permanently exposed to malaria throughout the year, whereas the risk in those living far from such agricultural practices is limited and only critical during the rainy seasons. Measures must be taken by African governments to create awareness among farmers and ultimately decentralize farming activities from urban to rural areas where human-vector contact is limited.