The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has advised households to use insecticide-treated nets to protect themselves against indoor mosquito bites.
On personal protection, it has also urged the public to use repellents and wear clothing that protects against mosquito bites outside their homes as well as check the doors and windows of rooms.
In a statement signed by the Director-General, Dr. Patrick Kuma Aboagye on Saturday, he stated that GHS has confirmed the presence of a new mosquito vector name Anopheles stephensi in the country.
He added that, the new vector was confirmed in March 2023, from samples taken in Tuba and Dansoman, in the Greater Accra Region as part of the routine malaria surveillance system and vector control monitoring done across the country through designated sentinel sites.
According to him, the Anopheles stephensi was a unique vector known to breed in a myriad of sources such as ponds, swamps, marshes, artificial containers and other man-made container spots.
“It can practically breed in almost all water sources, some of which are not the traditional breeding sites of the common Anopheles species, particularly in the urban areas,” it added.
He said, the vector can also survive in extremely high temperatures during the dry season when malaria transmission usually declines. It is known to spread fast and adapt to different climatic conditions posing challenges to its control.
He stated that, a task force has been formed to advise and coordinate the following needed action: enhance larval source management nationwide epically where Anopheles stephensi were detected, enhance vector surveillance on Anopheles stephensi per the updated vector control guideline, improve the country’s laboratory and human capacity to identify Anopheles stephensi, to collaborate with the WHO to update the Vector Map and to intensify community engagement and sensitization all levels.
GHS has entreated the public to ensure the removal of water collection points in and around their homes and communities to minimize the breeding sites for this new mosquito species and also cover all water containers to avoid mosquito breeding.
It has called on partners to support in intensifying, particularly on environmental management, to reduce breeding sites for all forms of mosquitoes in communities whilst they continuously monitor the spread of Anopheles stephensi misquotes in the country.
Priscilla Nimako, ISD