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Malaria mosquitoes spotted in Astana 12 мая 2014, 14:46

Anopheles claviger, a malaria mosquito species uncommon for Kazakhstan, has been spotted in the wetlands near Astana.
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Photo courtesy of sila-znaniy.com Photo courtesy of sila-znaniy.com

Malaria mosquitoes have been spotted near Astana, Tengrinews reports citing KTK Channel. Sanitary inspectors have found Anopheles claviger mosquitoes in the wetlands surrounding Astana. 

This species is uncommon for Kazakhstan, and neither this, nor other malaria-carrying mosquitoes have ever been seen in the city before. The last case of malaria infection in Kazakhstan was recorded 40 years ago. The experts are now trying to find out where these mosquitoes came from.

“We mostly have аnopheles messeae mosquitoes here, but anopheles claviger is a very different species. Our Almaty colleagues have already confirmed to us that we are dealing with anopheles claviger. We are doing everything possible to make sure that no one in Kazakhstan goes down with malaria,” the acting head of the Parasitic Infections Surveillance Department of the Sanitary Epidemiological Service of Astana Nagima Shatayeva said.

"Anopheles claviger may have been imported in a suitcase or in a truck. Import is the most likely version, because we have always been monitoring the area and have never found an anopheles here before," she said.

The inspectors are now running an off-schedule desinsection in Astana and surrounding wetlands. The works are mostly done during the night, to make the procedures more effective and reduce exposure of the residents. "People go for a walk outside in the evening. So we usually start spraying the residential areas only after midnight. So that there are less people around and we don't harm their health," disinfector Denis Rukabert said.

But it is hardly possible to eliminate all the mosquitoes, so Astana residents are strongly recommended to install mosquito nets on their windows and use repellents.

The Ishim River flows through Astana so there are always a lot of wetlands that serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes around the city. But if the weather stays sunny and hot this year it will help reduce the population of mosquitoes.

Anopheles claviger is a mosquito species found in Palearctic ecozone covering Europe, North Africa, northern Arabian Peninsula, and northern Asia. It is responsible for transmitting malaria in some of these regions. The malaria infection kills 3 million people annually, which is 15 times more than AIDS.


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