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Researchers have linked an invasive mosquito to recent malaria outbreaks. The species thrives in urban areas and threatens to undo progress in eradicating the disease

An invasive species of mosquito was likely responsible for a large malaria outbreak in Ethiopia this year, scientists said on Tuesday.

Ethiopian scientist Fitsum Tadesse presented research that suggests a malaria outbreak in the city of Dire Dawa was “strongly linked” the invasive Anopheles stephensi species of mosquito.

The number of cases reported in the city jumped from 205 in 2019 to 2,400 in the first five months of 2022 — largely in the dry season.

The species of mosquito is typically found around India and Iran. But in 2012, it was spotted in Djibouti and has now also been found in neighboring Ethiopia, Sudan, and Somalia, as well as in Nigeria.