Background: Understanding the distribution of anopheline vectors of malaria is an important prelude to the design of national malaria control and elimination programmes. A single, geo-coded continental inventory of anophelines using all available published and unpublished data has not been undertaken since the 1960s. Methods: We have searched African, European and World Health Organization archives to identify unpublished reports on anopheline surveys in 48 sub-Saharan Africa countries. This search was supplemented by identification of reports that formed part of post-graduate theses, conference abstracts, regional insecticide resistance databases and more traditional bibliographic searches of peer-reviewed literature. Finally, a check was made against two recent repositories of dominant malaria vector species locations ( circa 2,500). Each report was used to extract information on the survey dates, village locations (geo-coded to provide a longitude and latitude), sampling methods, species identification methods and all anopheline species found present during the survey. Survey records were collapsed to a single site over time. Results: The search strategy took years and resulted in 13,331 unique, geo-coded survey locations of anopheline vector occurrence between 1898 and 2016. A total of 12,204 (92%) sites reported the presence of 10 dominant vector species/sibling species; 4,473 (37%) of these sites were sampled since 2005. 4,442 (33%) sites reported at least one of 13 possible secondary vector species; 1,107 (25%) of these sites were sampled since 2005. Distributions of dominant and secondary vectors conform to previous descriptions of the ecological ranges of these vectors. Conclusion: We have assembled the largest ever geo-coded database of anophelines in Africa, representing a legacy dataset for future updating and identification of knowledge gaps at national levels. The geo-coded database is available on Harvard Dataverse as a reference source for African national malaria control programmes planning their future control and elimination strategies.
Keywords: Africa; Anopheles; Malaria; Maps; Vectors.