Background: Effective malaria control relies on evidence-based interventions. Anopheline behaviour and Plasmodium infections were investigated in North Cameroon, following long-lasting insecticidal net (LLIN) distribution in 2010.
Methods: During four consecutive years from 2011 to 2014, adult mosquitoes were collected indoors, outdoors and in exit traps across 38 locations in the Garoua, Pitoa and Mayo-Oulo health districts. Anophelines were morphologically and molecularly identified, then analysed for blood meal origins and Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein (Pf-CSP). Blood from children under 5 years-old using LLINs was examined for Plasmodium infections.
Results: Overall, 9376 anophelines belonging to 14 species/sibling species were recorded. Anopheles gambiae (s.l.) [An. arabiensis (73.3%), An. coluzzii (17.6%) and An. gambiae (s.s.) (9.1%)] was predominant (72%), followed by An. funestus (s.l.) (20.5%) and An. rufipes (6.5%). The recorded blood meals were mainly from humans (28%), cattle (15.6%) and sheep (11.6%) or mixed (45%). Pf-CSP rates were higher indoors (3.2-5.4%) versus outdoors (0.8-2.0%), and increased yearly (χ2 < 18, df = 10, P < 0.03). Malaria prevalence in children under 5 years-old, in households using LLINs was 30% (924/3088).
Conclusions: The present study revealed the variability of malaria vector resting and feeding behaviour, and the persistence of Plasmodium infections regardless the use of LLINs. Supplementary interventions to LLINs are therefore needed to sustain malaria prevention in North Cameroon.
Keywords: Alternative hosts; Long-lasting insecticidal nets; Malaria infections; Mosquitoes; North Cameroon; Vector behaviour.