Citizen science for monitoring the spatial and temporal dynamics of malaria vectors in relation to environmental risk factors in Ruhuha, Rwanda

Marilyn Milumbu Murindahabi, Arash Hoseni, Corné Vreugdenhil, Arnold Van Vliet, Jackie Umupfasoni, Alphonse Mutabazi, Emmanuel Hakizimana, Marijn Poortvliet, Leon Mutesa, Willem Takken, Sander Koenraadt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: As part of malaria prevention and control efforts, the distribution and density of malaria mosquitoes requires continuous monitoring. Resources for long-term surveillance of malaria vectors, however, are often limited. The aim of the research was to evaluate the value of citizen science in providing insight into potential malaria vector hotspots and other malaria relevant information, and to determine predictors of malaria vector abundance in a region where routine mosquito monitoring has not been established to support vector surveillance. Methods: A 1-year citizen science programme for malaria mosquito surveillance was implemented in five villages of the Ruhuha sector in Bugesera district, Rwanda. In total, 112 volunteer citizens were enrolled and reported monthly data on mosquitoes collected in their peridomestic environment using handmade carbon-dioxide baited traps. Additionally, they reported mosquito nuisance experienced as well as the number of confirmed malaria cases in their household. Results: In total, 3793 female mosquitoes were collected, of which 10.8% were anophelines. For the entire period, 16% of the volunteers reported having at least one confirmed malaria case per month, but this varied by village and month. During the study year 66% of the households reported at least one malaria case. From a sector perspective, a higher mosquito and malaria vector abundance was observed in the two villages in the south of the study area. The findings revealed significant positive correlations among nuisance reported and confirmed malaria cases, and also between total number of Culicidae and confirmed malaria cases, but not between the numbers of the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae and malaria cases. At the sector level, of thirteen geographical risk factors considered for inclusion in multiple regression, distance to the river network and elevation played a role in explaining mosquito and malaria mosquito abundance. Conclusions: The study demonstrates that a citizen science approach can contribute to mosquito monitoring, and can help to identify areas that, in view of limited resources for control, are at higher risk of malaria.
Original languageEnglish
Article number453
JournalMalaria Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • Citizen science
  • Environmental risk factors
  • Malaria
  • Perceived mosquito nuisance
  • Rwanda


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