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The Simulium damnosum complex in western Uganda and its role as a vector of Onchocerca volvulus

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The status of onchocerciasis vectors in the former Ruwenzori focus in western Uganda was re-examined some 15 years after control measures against Simulium damnosum s.l. were suspended. The four cytoforms S. kilibanum, ‘Sebwe’, ‘Nkusi’ and S. pandanophilum were found. While the nonanthropophilic ‘Sebwe’ was still widely distributed in rivers north, east and south of the Ruwenzori, the only anthropophilic species and vector, S. kilibanum, had disappeared from most of its former habitats and was now restricted to two limited foci, where high biting densities were encountered. It was still a vector south of the Ruwenzori (Kasese focus), where 15.4% of the parous flies were infected with larval stages of Onchocerca volvulus and 34 infective larvae were found in the heads of 1000 parous flies. In the second focus along the Mahoma and Nsonge rivers, a chromosomally highly polymorphic population of S. kilibanum had replaced the former vector S. neavei, but does not act as a vector. Only 2.3% of the parous females were infected and just 1 infective larva was found in the heads of 1000 parous flies.

Keywords: Diptera; Simuliidae; Simulium damnosum complex; Uganda; cytotaxonomy; onchocerciasis; vector control

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Hamburg, Germany 2: Vector Control Unit, Fort Portal, Ministry of Health, Uganda 3: GTZ Basic Health Services, Fort Portal, Uganda

Publication date: December 1, 1999


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