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Open Access Research

Temporal and spatial stability of Anopheles gambiae larval habitat distribution in Western Kenya highlands

Li Li1*, Ling Bian2, Laith Yakob3, Guofa Zhou3 and Guiyun Yan3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Political Science and Geography, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA

2 Department of Geography, University at Buffalo, Amherst, New York, USA

3 Program in Public Health, College of Health Sciences, University of California, Irvine, California, USA

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International Journal of Health Geographics 2009, 8:70  doi:10.1186/1476-072X-8-70

Published: 18 December 2009

Abstract

Background

Localized mosquito larval habitat management and the use of larvicides have been proposed as important control tools in integrated malaria vector management programs. In order to optimize the utility of these tools, detailed knowledge of the spatial distribution patterns of mosquito larval habitats is crucial. However, the spatial and temporal changes of habitat distribution patterns under different climatic conditions are rarely quantified and their implications to larval control are unknown.

Results

Using larval habitat data collected in western Kenya highlands during both dry and rainy seasons of 2003-2005, this study analyzed the seasonal and inter-annual changes in the spatial patterns in mosquito larval habitat distributions. We found that the spatial patterns of larval habitats had significant temporal variability both seasonally and inter-annually.

Conclusions

The pattern of larval habitats is extremely important to the epidemiology of malaria because it results in spatial heterogeneity in the adult mosquito population and, subsequently, the spatial distribution of clinical malaria cases. Results from this study suggest that larval habitat management activities need to consider the dynamic nature of malaria vector habitats.