Bancroftian filariasis, caused by Wuchereria bancrofti is widespread in Nigeria. It is a serious public health problem as well as a major cause of acute and chronic morbidity in Nigeria. Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles funestus are the main vectors in the rural Nigeria while Culex quenquifasciatus is the vector in the urban and semi-urban areas. Although these mosquito vectors breed and transmit bancroftian filariasis in Nigeria, human behaviour and activities, urbanization and overcrowding as well as industrialization in Nigeria have created abundant breeding sites. The availability and proximity of human settlement to these numerous breeding sites for the vectors play important role in the disease transmission and intensity in both rural and urban areas. Our quick drive and desire to develop some of the river basins into hydroelectric dams and irrigation schemes in the country has, in some cases led to increased threat to public health including aggravation of bancroftian filariasis. Together with other careless engineering practices, these projects have either aggravated the prevalence of bancroftian filariasis or directly introduced it into new areas by providing new and permanent habitat for the vector species. The epidemiological significance of these is discussed.
Key words: Bancroftian filariasis, Anopheles gambiae, Culex quenquifasciatus, public health, human behavior, urbanization.
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