So you thought there is no malaria in the highlands of Ecuador, could it come back?

Posted on February 28, 2017 • Filed under: Ecuador, Ecuador Emergency, Ecuador Trivia, Latin America Health

Malaria in Highlands of Ecuador since 1900 – Published April 2012
Historical Review
Lauren L. PinaultComments to Author and Fiona F. Hunter
Author affiliations: Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada


A recent epidemic of malaria in the highlands of Bolivia and establishment of multiple Anopheles species mosquitoes in the highlands of Ecuador highlights the reemergence of malaria in the Andes Mountains in South America. Because malaria was endemic to many highland valleys at the beginning of the 20th century, this review outlines the 20th century history of malaria in the highlands of Ecuador, and focuses on its incidence (e.g., geographic distribution) and elimination from the northern highland valleys of Pichincha and Imbabura and the role of the Guayaquil to Quito railway in creating highland larval habitat and inadvertently promoting transportation of the vector and parasite. Involvement of control organizations in combating malaria in Ecuador is also outlined in a historical context.



Malaria became more widespread in northern highland regions of Ecuador during 1900–1940 but was subsequently eliminated from these regions through habitat elimination and use of chemical insecticides (21). In Chimborazo during 1900–1950, malaria spread into highland valleys along the railway linking Guayaquil and Quito (10,17,18). Although there have likely been a few highland epidemics since the 1940s, only 1 report in 1991 documented the presence of An. pseudopunctipennis mosquitoes in river-associated habitats of Guayllabamba (28). To effectively monitor establishment of highland malaria vectors, a focus on historically malaria-endemic highland valleys may be needed. Anopheline habitats in areas with steep topography are expected to differ from those in flat, low-altitude regions. Therefore, these differences will necessitate further study of local dynamics of mosquito ecology, meteorologic variables, and transmission cycles. Read Full Study

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