Molecular identification of Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto Giles (formerly Anopheles gambiae Savannah Form) in Kamuli District, Uganda
Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto Giles (formerly A. gambiae S molecular form), the largely anthropophilic species, is reportedly the most important malaria vector in Uganda among the A. gambiae complex species. Indoor and outdoor human-biting mosquitoes were caught for four consecutive nights in each of 48 households in Kamuli district using human-baited bed net traps for subsequent identification of the principal Anopheles sibling species responsible for transmitting malaria. Sibling species under the A. gambiae complex were characterized by polymerase chain reaction using species specific single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) in the intergenic spacer region (IGS) with primers specific for A. gambiae s.s., Anopheles arabiensis, Anopheles melas, Anopheles merus and Anopheles quadriannulatus. Molecular forms of the A. gambiae s.s. were further discriminated using primers specific for Mopti and Savannah forms. Out of 300 A. gambiae s.l. amplified, 98% (n= 294) were A. gambiae s.s. Out of 142 A. gambiae s.s. samples analyzed for molecular forms, 78.9% (n=112) were identified as A. gambiae s.s. Giles (A. gambiae Savannah (S) form, while the other 21.1% were not identifiable. the presence of A. gambiae s.s. Giles in Kamuli was also reported. Considering the anthropophilic, endophagic and endophilic behavior of A. gambiae s.s. (and of the molecularly similar A. gambiae s.s. Giles), the combined use of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs), indoor residual spraying, larval source management and improved house design in the context of integrated vector management, may be the appropriate vector control strategies in the area. There is also need for regular monitoring of the vector species composition, distribution and behavior for proper planning of appropriate vector control interventions in the future.