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Surveillance of viral haemorrhagic fevers in Ghana: entomological assessment of the risk of transmission in the northern regions

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Abstract:

Objectives: To assess the risk of transmission of viral haemorrhagic fevers in northern Ghana. Design: A two-year cross-sectional entomological study was carried out in four communities in the northern part of Ghana. Standard WHO methods were used to collect adult and larvae of Aedes mosquitoes to estimate man-vector contact rates and larval indices. Results: A total of 2804 households were surveyed to estimate larval indices and man-vector contacts of potential vectors of viral haemorrhagic fevers such as Yellow fever and Dengue. Over 56% households in each study site were positive for Aedes larvae. Relatively higher Breteaux index (BI) and Container index (CI) were estimated in Damongo (BI: 180 and CI: 44.8) and Jirapa (BI: 149.7 and CI: 41.5) compared to Tumu (BI: 76.1 and CI: 19.5) and Bolgatanga (BI: 72.4 and CI: 20.6). Man-biting rates of 9.8 and 18.5 bites /man/hour were estimated for Damongo and Jirapa respectively whilst Bolgatanga recorded 10 B/M/H. Generally, man-vector contact rates in all the study sites were higher during the dry season than the wet season. Larval indices showed seasonal variations and the dry season was identified as the high-risk period for transmission of viral haemorrhagic fevers and possible disease outbreaks. No flavivirus was detected in the 2034 Aedes mosquitoes from the study sites by RTPCR. Conclusions: Aedes mosquito larval densities and adult biting rates, in all the study areas were sufficient to promote outbreaks of viral haemorrhagic fevers.

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