Epidemiological studies on the disease and vector of Mansonella Perstans in The Asante-Akim North District of Ghana

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JUNE 2016
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Large parts of African and South American countries are colonized by Mansonella a very common but poorly described filarial nematode. Blood-sucking flies of the genus Culicoides are suspected to be the vector of Mansonella perstans but no study in Ghana has confirmed that it can transmit the parasite. An epidemiological survey was conducted in eight communities in the Asante-Akim North district of Ghana to determine the prevalence of M. perstans. A total of 1,216 residents comprising 601 males and 615 females with an age range of 9 years and above, participated in the study after an informed consent. All participants were examined for the presence of microfilariae. The average prevalence of M. perstans was 33.2% with the range between 1.6% and 72.3%. The prevalence of the parasite among the males was 57.2% and females 42.8%. Microfilariae were detected among all the age groups with the highest prevalence in the 30-39years age group. Culicoides flies were investigated in the study communities for M. perstans. In all, 2,194 Culicoides species (spp) were collected at the end of the study. Light trap collections gave diverse species where as HLC gave only one species. Investigations of seasonal abundance revealed a higher prevalence in the rainy season (58.7%). Biting activities had a peak period between 5-6pm. The monthly biting rates ranged from 83 bites per person per month to 2250 bites per person per month. Bebusu was the community with the highest monthly biting rate (2250). No Culicoides spp was found positive for M. perstans and its vector still requires identification. In conclusion, M. perstans has been detected in the Asante-Akim North District of Ghana with high prevalence. Hence, similar studies should be carried out in other parts of the country to determine the actual prevalence of the disease.
A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in The Department of Clinical Microbiology.