Habitat preference and seasonal dynamics of Phlebotomus orientalis in urban and semi-urban areas of kala-azar endemic district of Kafta Humera, northwest Ethiopia

Solomon Yared*, Araya Gebresilassie, Essayas Akililu, Meshesha Balkew, Alon Warburg, Asrat Hailu, Teshome Gebre-Michael

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Visceral leishmaniasis is a significant public health problem in northwest Ethiopia, particularly in Kafta Humera district. The study was designed to determine the species composition and population dynamics of sand flies in five villages representing urban and semi-urban areas of Kafta Humera district namely, Setit Humera, Mykadra, Rawyan, Bereket and Adebay. Sand flies were collected for two to three nights monthly from May 2011 to April 2012 using CDC light-traps and sticky traps. Traps were placed in villages, at periphery of villages and farm fields. Sticky traps were also used for sampling indoor active sand flies. In total, 13,097 sand fly specimens of eight Phlebotomus species and 91,949 Sergentomyia specimens were collected. Among the Phlebotomus, P. orientalis was the predominant species (58.1%) followed by P. papatasi (29.6%), P. lesleyae (5.6%), P. bergeroti (3.8%), P. duboscqi (2.1%), P. alexandri (0.4%), P. heischi (0.2%) and P. rodhaini (0.2%). Significantly, higher number of P. orientalis was caught in Adebay village and the least in Setit Humera town. Seasonal abundance of P. orientalis increased during the dry season (January–May) and dropped drastically in the wet season (late June–September). Significant positive correlation was found between monthly abundance of P. orientalis and the monthly average air and surface soil temperature, while a negative correlation was found with monthly average rainfall and relative humidity. Higher number of P. orientalis was collected outdoors, especially in the farm fields followed by periphery of villages. Thus, various observations strongly suggested P. orientalis to be the principal vector in the study areas, where farm lands and periphery of villages were identified as the most risky habitats, whereas the indoors were the least ones. Appropriate control methods should be designed and implemented according to the knowledge of P. orientalis habitat preferences and seasonal dynamics in the district.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)25-34
Number of pages10
JournalActa Tropica
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge Kahssay Aberra Hospital, Humera District Administration Office, and Police Department for their continuous support; Habtom Abebe, Abel Haile and Shemelis Geremew for their assistance. We also thank the National Meteorological Agency for providing the relevant meteorological data of the study area. This study was financially supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Global Health Program (grant number OPPGH5336 ). The funding agency had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016


  • Ecology
  • Kafta Humera
  • Phlebotomus orientalis
  • Population dynamics
  • Sand fly fauna
  • Visceral leishmaniasis


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