Malaria transmission in Africa is a dynamic and complex system that is so far superficially understood. Further knowledge is required to improve control of the disease. In the present report, we highlight the contribution of the so-called “secondary” malaria vectors to the overall parasite transmission intensity in several sites across Cameroon, through a retrospective analysis of surveys from the Organisation de Coordination pour la lutte Contre les Endémies en Afrique Centrale database. In total, 48,490 female anophelines belonging to 21 different species were collected between October 1998 and March 2003. Anopheles gambiae Giles, Anopheles arabiensis Patton, Anopheles funestus Giles, Anopheles nili (Theobald), and Anopheles moucheti Evans represented 89% of the total anopheline fauna. Beside these major vectors, malaria parasites or their circumsporozoite proteins were found in nine secondary malaria vectors: Anopheles ovengensis Awono-Ambene et al., Anopheles carnevalei Brunhes et al., Anopheles coustani Laveran, Anopheles hancocki Edwards, Anopheles marshallii (Theobald), Anopheles paludis Theobald, Anopheles pharoensis Theobald, Anopheles wellcomei Theobald, and Anopheles ziemanni Grünberg. The mean infection rate of secondary vectors (1.36%) was significantly (P < 0.001) lower than that of major vectors (3.08%). An. pharoensis and An. ovengensis were repeatedly found infected by Plasmodium falciparum Welch and contributed substantially to the total malaria transmission intensity in some areas where they were abundant. Both species have strong exophilic and/or exophagic habits such that they might elude vector control directed against endophilic and endophagic malaria vectors.
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Vol. 43 • No. 6