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Malaria-capable mosquito has always been here; GovGuam officials decline comment on plans to prevent

A scientific study published by East Carolina University regarding mosquitos and the pathogens they are capable of carrying on Guam.

By Johnnie Rosario

(Tumon, Guam) Guam has the mosquitos that can carry and transmit the Malaria virus. Actually, we have two types of mosquitos capable of carrying and transmitting the disease. This is according to a scientific study conducted in 1989 by Paul Knechtges called Mosquito Surveillance and Control.

The study was published by East Carolina University and contains 172 citations.

Mr. Knechtges, in his study, reports the prevalence of two species of Malaria-capable mosquitos: the anopheles barbirostris and the anopheles vagus vagus.

Just like Dengue, malaria is not new to Guam. There were five cases of locally-acquired malaria following 155 cases of the disease imported to Guam from southeast Asia. Another outbreak of five malaria infections happened in 1969. In 1975, when 120,000 Vietnamese refugees were settled in the Yigo area, 70 malaria cases were reported. Between 1980 and 1986, seven malaria cases were reported on Guam among residents, tourists, and one military member. All the cases had travel histories to malaria-endemic areas.

Timeline of mosquito-transmitted disease outbreaks on Guam, including Dengue, malaria, and others.

It is unclear at this point what either the former Naval government, the former civilian government prior to the Elective Governor Act, or the former Paul Calvo and Bordallo administrations did to prevent the spread of the disease through transmission to more of the malaria-capable mosquitos. However, what we do know from the data is that whatever they did worked. Malaria has not been found in the malaria-capable mosquitos by the government’s vector control unit presently.

Kandit reached out to public health and Governor’s Office officials to understand what plans are in place to prevent and manage malaria infection. There has been no response to our inquiry as of news time.

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