Jan 10, 2021; BMC. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12936-020-03579-w
Many countries, including Rwanda, have mosquito monitoring programmes in place to support decision making in the fight against malaria. However, these programmes can be costly, and require technical (entomological) expertise. Involving citizens in data collection can greatly support such activities, but this has not yet been thoroughly investigated in a rural African context.
Prior to the implementation of such a citizen-science approach, a household entomological survey was conducted in October–November 2017 and repeated one year later in Busoro and Ruhuha sectors, in southern and eastern province of Rwanda, respectively. The goal was to evaluate the perception of mosquito nuisance reported by citizens as a potential indicator for malaria vector hotspots. Firstly, mosquito abundance and species composition were determined using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) light traps inside the houses. Secondly, household members were interviewed about malaria risk factors and their perceived level of mosquito nuisance.
Tiled roofs, walls made of mud and wood, as well as the number of occupants in the house were predictors for the number of mosquitoes (Culicidae) in the houses, while the presence of eaves plus walls made of mud and wood were predictors for malaria vector abundance. Perception of mosquito nuisance reported indoors tended to be significantly correlated with the number of Anopheles gambiae sensu lato (s.l.) and Culicidae collected indoors, but this varied across years and sectors. At the village level, nuisance also significantly correlated with An. gambiae s.l. and total mosquito density, but only in 2018 while not in 2017.
Perception of mosquito nuisance denoted in a questionnaire survey could be used as a global indicator of malaria vector hotspots. Hence, involving citizens in such activities can complement malaria vector surveillance and control.