Background & objectives: : Increase of vector-borne diseases (VBDs) in India has posed a question on the situation in Lakshadweep Islands, where VBDs are reported from time-to-time. The present investigation was aimed to assess the faunastic situation of the prevailing vectors along with their breeding sites in different islands of the Lakshadweep.
Methods: : Extensive surveys were carried out from November 2017 to January 2018 (post-monsoon season) randomly in the nine inhabited islands of Lakshadweep for conducting faunastic studies on mosquitoes and to know the basic binomics like breeding and resting preference of mosquitoes. The study islands included, Kavaratti, Agatti, Chetlat, Bitra, Amini, Kadmath, Andrott, Kalpeni and Kiltan. Both immature and adult collections were carried out by standard/appropriate sampling techniques. The obtained data were calculated and analysed in terms of different entomological indices.
Results: : A total of 3356 mosquitoes were collected during the study period which comprised of 16 species from nine genera. Out of the 16 species, six belonged to mosquito vectors. The collection included malaria vector, Anopheles stephensi; Japanese encephalitis vector, Culex tritaeniorhynchus; Bancroftian filariasis vector, Cx. quinquefasciatus; Brugian filariasis vector, Mansonia uniformis; and dengue and chikungunya vectors, Stegomya albopicta and St. aegypti. Stegomya albopicta was the most predominant species observed constituting 54% of the catch, followed by Cx. quinquefasciatus, An. stephensi, Cx. tritaeniorhynchus, and St. aegypti constituting 10.5, 6, 3 and 1.2%, respectively. Apart from vector species many non-vectors such as Heizmannia chandi, An. subpictus, An. varuna, Cx. sitiens, Cx. minutissimus, Cx. rubithoracis, Fredwardsius vittatus, Lutzia fuscana, Malaya genurostris and Armigeres subalbatus were also present in the study area. In Kavaratti Island, the capital of Lakshadweep, a non-vector species of sandfly, Sergentomyia (Parrotomyia) babu was observed during the indoor resting collection. The major breeding sites which supported various mosquito species included, discarded plastic containers, tree holes, open sintex tanks (water storage tanks), unused wells, discarded tyres, discarded iron pots, unused and damaged boats, cement tanks, pleated plastic sheets, coral holes, pits and irrigation canals, discarded washing machines, and Colocasia plant leaf axils. Breteau index ranged between 65.3 and 110, CI ranged between 63.64 and 72.41; and HI ranged between 38.46 and 70 among the various islands.
Interpretation & conclusion: : Entomological indices such as house index (HI), breteau index (BI) and pupal index (PI) were high in all the nine islands and exceeded the threshold levels specified by WHO, indicating high risk for dengue virus transmission in case of outbreaks. Occurrence of vector as well as non-vector species indicates that the global change in climate is causing notable changes in terms of breeding of vector and non-vector species in the islands. With the reported cases of VBDs and the presence of vectors species in Lakshadweep Islands, a stringent control measure needs to be implemented at the Lakshadweep Islands.
Keywords: Breeding sites; Lakshadweep Islands; mosquito; vector surveillance; vector-borne diseases.