Pupal productivity of larval habitats of Aedes aegypti in Msambweni, Kwale County, Kenya

Parasitol Res. 2023 Jan 23. doi: 10.1007/s00436-022-07777-0. Online ahead of print.


Aedes aegypti is an important vector of several arboviruses including dengue and chikungunya viruses. Accurate identification of larval habitats of Ae. aegypti is considered an essential step in targeted control. This study determined Ae. aegypti productivity in selected larval habitats in Msambweni, Kwale County, Kenya. Three sequential larval habitat surveys were conducted. The first survey was habitat census (baseline) through which 83 representative larval habitats were identified and selected. The second and third surveys involved estimating daily productivity of the 83 selected larval habitats for 30 consecutive days during a wet and a dry season, respectively. Of 664 larval habitats examined at baseline, 144 larval habitats (21.7%) were found to be infested with Ae. aegypti larvae. At baseline, majority (71%) of the pupae were collected from two (2/6) larval habitat types, tires and pots. Multivariate analysis identified habitat type and the habitat being movable as the predictors for pupal abundance. During the 30-day daily pupal production surveys, only a few of the habitats harbored pupae persistently. Pupae were found in 28% and 12% of the larval habitats during the wet and dry seasons, respectively. In the wet season, drums, tires, and pots were identified as the key habitat types accounting for 85% of all pupae sampled. Three habitats (all drums) accounted for 80% of all the pupae collected in the dry season. Predictors for pupal productivity in the wet season were habitat type, place (whether the habitat is located at the back or front of the house), habitat purpose (use of the water in the habitat), and source of water. Although the multivariate model for habitat type did not converge, habitat type and habitat size were the only significant predictors during the dry season. Drums, pots, and tires were sources of more than 85% of Ae. aegypti pupae, reinforcing the "key container concept." Targeting these three types of habitats makes epidemiological sense, especially during the dry season.

Keywords: Aedes aegypti; Chikungunya virus; Dengue virus; Pupal productivity; Zika virus.