January 31, 2011


Sabuni, Z. A.

Ministry of Livestock Development, Kabete, P.O Box Private Bag, Kangemi, Kenya


In rural African villages, humans keep indigenous chicken which form a very important component in their lives. In the olden days, poultry were kept for sporting, idol worshipping and sacrifices to gods, and for prestige in terms of numbers owned by the farmers. Nowadays poultry contribute to the rural employment, family nutrition and income. They also form part of cultural life of rural people in form of special dishes and are given out as gifts to visitors and relatives. However, villagers share housing with these chicken which at a times may expose them to a range of parasites and diseases that are transmitted either directly or indirectly by vectors that feed on the chicken. In our previous studies in 2008, we found the prevalence of Plasmodium gallinaceum to be 53.5% in our study areas. Microscopy was the only method used in diagnosis hence possible errors being recorded: diagnosis (species found) and actual prevalence (cases with low parasitaemia per erythrocyte). A question arose on the possibility of cross transmission as the tendency of vectors feeding on both birds and human may be possible, and therefore provoked an urge to study further vector ecology, transmission routes, reservoir possibility between the two species.
My objectives are: first, to ascertain whether the Plasmodium spp., diagnosed in our previous study in chicken is actually avian and not human Plasmodium (employ up-to-date and specific tests example Molecular tools in diagnosis) since this is the first study to document prevalence of Plasmodium in chicken in this country. Secondly, establish the vector present in our study areas responsible for transmission, and evaluate their vector status. Thirdly, correlate the general prevalence and distribution of avian plasmodium to that of human within our study areas.
Molecular tools will be used to establish the species of Plasmodium in infected chicken and establishment of vector (infectivity) status of Mosquitoes found in the study zones. Geographical Information System (GIS) will be used to map the mosquitoes’ breeding habitats and distribution. The results will be analyzed using appropriate statistical packages.
Results from this study will provide notes on human-chicken interaction and malaria in-terms of vectors involved, their distribution, vector status and cross-transmission. The reports on vector distribution can be adapted as an indispensable constituent of selective malaria control strategy among human and birds’ population.

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