[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Zanzibar has reached historic lows. Improving control requires quantifying malaria importation rates, identifying high-risk travelers, and assessing onwards transmission.Estimates of Zanzibar's importation rate were calculated through two independent methodologies. First, mobile phone usage data and ferry traffic between Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania were re-analyzed using a model of heterogeneous travel risk. Second, a dynamic mathematical model of importation and transmission rates was used.Zanzibar residents traveling to malaria endemic regions were estimated to contribute 1-15 times more imported cases than infected visitors. The malaria importation rate was estimated to be 1.6 incoming infections per 1,000 inhabitants per year. Local transmission was estimated too low to sustain transmission in most places.Malaria infections in Zanzibar largely result from imported malaria and subsequent transmission. Plasmodium falciparum malaria elimination appears feasible by implementing control measures based on detecting imported malaria cases and controlling onward transmission.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The malaria burden in Viet Nam has been in decline in recent decades, but localised areas of high transmission remain. We used spatiotemporal analytical tools to determine the social and environmental drivers of malaria risk and to identify residual high-risk areas where control and surveillance resources can be targeted. Counts of reported Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax malaria cases by month (January 2007-December 2008) and by district were assembled. Zero-inflated Poisson regression models were developed in a bayesian framework. Models had the percentage of the district's population living below the poverty line, percent of the district covered by forest, median elevation, median long-term average precipitation, and minimum temperature included as fixed effects, and terms for temporal trend and residual district-level spatial autocorrelation. Strong temporal and spatial heterogeneity in counts of malaria cases was apparent. Poverty and forest cover were significantly associated with an increased count of malaria cases but the magnitude and direction of associations between climate and malaria varied by socio-ecological zone. There was a declining trend in counts of malaria cases during the study period. After accounting for the social and environmental fixed effects, substantial spatial heterogeneity was still evident. Unmeasured factors which may contribute to this residual variation include malaria control activities, population migration and accessibility to health care. Forest-related activities and factors encompassed by poverty indicators are major drivers of malaria incidence in Viet Nam.
International journal for parasitology 01/2011; 41(1):109-16. · 3.39 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The recent scale-up of malaria interventions, the ensuing reductions in the malaria burden, and reinvigorated discussions about global eradication have led many countries to consider malaria elimination as an alternative to maintaining control measures indefinitely. Evidence-based guidance to help countries weigh their options is thus urgently needed. A quantitative feasibility assessment that balances the epidemiological situation in a region, the strength of the public health system, the resource constraints, and the status of malaria control in neighboring areas can serve as the basis for robust, long-term strategic planning. Such a malaria elimination feasibility assessment was recently prepared for the Minister of Health in Zanzibar. Based on the Zanzibar experience, a framework is proposed along three axes that assess the technical requirements to achieve and maintain elimination, the operational capacity of the malaria programme and the public health system to meet those requirements, and the feasibility of funding the necessary programmes over time. Key quantitative and qualitative metrics related to each component of the assessment are described here along with the process of collecting data and interpreting the results. Although further field testing, validation, and methodological improvements will be required to ensure applicability in different epidemiological settings, the result is a flexible, rational methodology for weighing different strategic options that can be applied in a variety of contexts to establish data-driven strategic plans.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It has been 100 years since the first report of sickle haemoglobin (HbS). More than 50 years ago, it was suggested that the gene responsible for this disorder could reach high frequencies because of resistance conferred against malaria by the heterozygous carrier state. This traditional example of balancing selection is known as the 'malaria hypothesis'. However, the geographical relationship between the transmission intensity of malaria and associated HbS burden has never been formally investigated on a global scale. Here, we use a comprehensive data assembly of HbS allele frequencies to generate the first evidence-based map of the worldwide distribution of the gene in a Bayesian geostatistical framework. We compare this map with the pre-intervention distribution of malaria endemicity, using a novel geostatistical area-mean comparison. We find geographical support for the malaria hypothesis globally; the relationship is relatively strong in Africa but cannot be resolved in the Americas or in Asia.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The relationship between malaria transmission intensity and efficiency is important for malaria epidemiology, for the design of randomized control trials that measure transmission or incidence as end points, and for measuring and modelling malaria transmission and control. Five kinds of studies published over the past century were assembled and reanalysed to quantify malaria transmission efficiency and describe its relation to transmission intensity, to understand the causes of inefficient transmission and to identify functions suitable for modelling mosquito-borne disease transmission. In this study, we show that these studies trace a strongly nonlinear relationship between malaria transmission intensity and efficiency that is parsimoniously described by a model of heterogeneous biting. When many infectious bites are concentrated on a few people, infections and parasite population structure will be highly aggregated affecting the immunoepidemiology of malaria, the evolutionary ecology of parasite life history traits and the measurement and stratification of transmission for control using entomological and epidemiological data.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Financing for malaria control has increased as part of international commitments to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We aimed to identify the unmet financial needs that would be biologically and economically equitable and would increase the chances of reaching worldwide malaria-control ambitions.
Populations at risk of stable Plasmodium falciparum or Plasmodium vivax transmission were calculated for 2007 and 2009 for 93 malaria-endemic countries to measure biological need. National per-person gross domestic product (GDP) was used to define economic need. An analysis of external donor assistance for malaria control was done for the period 2002-09 to compute overall and annualised per-person at-risk-funding commitments. Annualised malaria donor assistance was compared with independent predictions of funding needed to reach international targets of 80% coverage of best practices in case-management and effective disease prevention. Countries were ranked in relation to biological, economic, and unmet needs to examine equity and adequacy of support by 2010.
International financing for malaria control has increased by 166% (from $0·73 billion to $1·94 billion) since 2007 and is broadly consistent with biological needs. African countries have become major recipients of external assistance; however, countries where P vivax continues to pose threats to control ambitions are not as well funded. 21 countries have reached adequate assistance to provide a comprehensive suite of interventions by 2009, including 12 countries in Africa. However, this assistance was inadequate for 50 countries representing 61% of the worldwide population at risk of malaria-including ten countries in Africa and five in Asia that coincidentally are some of the poorest countries. Approval of donor funding for malaria control does not correlate with GDP.
Funding for malaria control worldwide is 60% lower than the US$4·9 billion needed for comprehensive control in 2010; this includes funding shortfalls for a wide range of countries with different numbers of people at risk and different levels of domestic income. More efficient targeting of financial resources against biological need and national income should create a more equitable investment portfolio that with increased commitments will guarantee sustained financing of control in countries most at risk and least able to support themselves.
The Lancet 10/2010; 376(9750):1409-16. · 39.06 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Experience gained from the Global Malaria Eradication Program (1955-72) identified a set of shared technical and operational factors that enabled some countries to successfully eliminate malaria. Spatial data for these factors were assembled for all malaria-endemic countries and combined to provide an objective, relative ranking of countries by technical, operational, and combined elimination feasibility. The analysis was done separately for Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax, and the limitations of the approach were discussed. The relative rankings suggested that malaria elimination would be most feasible in countries in the Americas and Asia, and least feasible in countries in central and west Africa. The results differed when feasibility was measured by technical or operational factors, highlighting the different types of challenge faced by each country. The results are not intended to be prescriptive, predictive, or to provide absolute assessments of feasibility, but they do show that spatial information is available to facilitate evidence-based assessments of the relative feasibility of malaria elimination by country that can be rapidly updated.
The Lancet 10/2010; 376(9752):1579-91. · 39.06 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
A research priority for Plasmodium vivax malaria is to improve our understanding of the spatial distribution of risk and its relationship with the burden of P. vivax disease in human populations. The aim of the research outlined in this article is to provide a contemporary evidence-based map of the global spatial extent of P. vivax malaria, together with estimates of the human population at risk (PAR) of any level of transmission in 2009.
The most recent P. vivax case-reporting data that could be obtained for all malaria endemic countries were used to classify risk into three classes: malaria free, unstable (
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Infectious diseases often demonstrate heterogeneity of transmission among host populations. This heterogeneity reduces the efficacy of control strategies, but also implies that focusing control strategies on "hotspots" of transmission could be highly effective.
In order to identify hotspots of malaria transmission, we analysed longitudinal data on febrile malaria episodes, asymptomatic parasitaemia, and antibody titres over 12 y from 256 homesteads in three study areas in Kilifi District on the Kenyan coast. We examined heterogeneity by homestead, and identified groups of homesteads that formed hotspots using a spatial scan statistic. Two types of statistically significant hotspots were detected; stable hotspots of asymptomatic parasitaemia and unstable hotspots of febrile malaria. The stable hotspots were associated with higher average AMA-1 antibody titres than the unstable clusters (optical density [OD] = 1.24, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.02-1.47 versus OD = 1.1, 95% CI 0.88-1.33) and lower mean ages of febrile malaria episodes (5.8 y, 95% CI 5.6-6.0 versus 5.91 y, 95% CI 5.7-6.1). A falling gradient of febrile malaria incidence was identified in the penumbrae of both hotspots. Hotspots were associated with AMA-1 titres, but not seroconversion rates. In order to target control measures, homesteads at risk of febrile malaria could be predicted by identifying the 20% of homesteads that experienced an episode of febrile malaria during one month in the dry season. That 20% subsequently experienced 65% of all febrile malaria episodes during the following year. A definition based on remote sensing data was 81% sensitive and 63% specific for the stable hotspots of asymptomatic malaria.
Hotspots of asymptomatic parasitaemia are stable over time, but hotspots of febrile malaria are unstable. This finding may be because immunity offsets the high rate of febrile malaria that might otherwise result in stable hotspots, whereas unstable hotspots necessarily affect a population with less prior exposure to malaria.
PLoS Medicine 07/2010; 7(7):e1000304. · 15.25 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The epidemiology of malaria makes surveillance-based methods of estimating its disease burden problematic. Cartographic approaches have provided alternative malaria burden estimates, but there remains widespread misunderstanding about their derivation and fidelity. The aims of this study are to present a new cartographic technique and its application for deriving global clinical burden estimates of Plasmodium falciparum malaria for 2007, and to compare these estimates and their likely precision with those derived under existing surveillance-based approaches.
In seven of the 87 countries endemic for P. falciparum malaria, the health reporting infrastructure was deemed sufficiently rigorous for case reports to be used verbatim. In the remaining countries, the mapped extent of unstable and stable P. falciparum malaria transmission was first determined. Estimates of the plausible incidence range of clinical cases were then calculated within the spatial limits of unstable transmission. A modelled relationship between clinical incidence and prevalence was used, together with new maps of P. falciparum malaria endemicity, to estimate incidence in areas of stable transmission, and geostatistical joint simulation was used to quantify uncertainty in these estimates at national, regional, and global scales. Combining these estimates for all areas of transmission risk resulted in 451 million (95% credible interval 349-552 million) clinical cases of P. falciparum malaria in 2007. Almost all of this burden of morbidity occurred in areas of stable transmission. More than half of all estimated P. falciparum clinical cases and associated uncertainty occurred in India, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Myanmar (Burma), where 1.405 billion people are at risk. Recent surveillance-based methods of burden estimation were then reviewed and discrepancies in national estimates explored. When these cartographically derived national estimates were ranked according to their relative uncertainty and replaced by surveillance-based estimates in the least certain half, 98% of the global clinical burden continued to be estimated by cartographic techniques.
Cartographic approaches to burden estimation provide a globally consistent measure of malaria morbidity of known fidelity, and they represent the only plausible method in those malaria-endemic countries with nonfunctional national surveillance. Unacceptable uncertainty in the clinical burden of malaria in only four countries confounds our ability to evaluate needs and monitor progress toward international targets for malaria control at the global scale. National prevalence surveys in each nation would reduce this uncertainty profoundly. Opportunities for further reducing uncertainty in clinical burden estimates by hybridizing alternative burden estimation procedures are also evaluated.
PLoS Medicine 06/2010; 7(6):e1000290. · 15.25 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The current and potential future impact of climate change on malaria is of major public health interest. The proposed effects of rising global temperatures on the future spread and intensification of the disease, and on existing malaria morbidity and mortality rates, substantively influence global health policy. The contemporary spatial limits of Plasmodium falciparum malaria and its endemicity within this range, when compared with comparable historical maps, offer unique insights into the changing global epidemiology of malaria over the last century. It has long been known that the range of malaria has contracted through a century of economic development and disease control. Here, for the first time, we quantify this contraction and the global decreases in malaria endemicity since approximately 1900. We compare the magnitude of these changes to the size of effects on malaria endemicity proposed under future climate scenarios and associated with widely used public health interventions. Our findings have two key and often ignored implications with respect to climate change and malaria. First, widespread claims that rising mean temperatures have already led to increases in worldwide malaria morbidity and mortality are largely at odds with observed decreasing global trends in both its endemicity and geographic extent. Second, the proposed future effects of rising temperatures on endemicity are at least one order of magnitude smaller than changes observed since about 1900 and up to two orders of magnitude smaller than those that can be achieved by the effective scale-up of key control measures. Predictions of an intensification of malaria in a warmer world, based on extrapolated empirical relationships or biological mechanisms, must be set against a context of a century of warming that has seen marked global declines in the disease and a substantial weakening of the global correlation between malaria endemicity and climate.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A detailed knowledge of the distribution of the main Anopheles malaria vectors in Kenya should guide national vector control strategies. However, contemporary spatial distributions of the locally dominant Anopheles vectors including Anopheles gambiae, Anopheles arabiensis, Anopheles merus, Anopheles funestus, Anopheles pharoensis and Anopheles nili are lacking. The methods and approaches used to assemble contemporary available data on the present distribution of the dominant malaria vectors in Kenya are presented here.
Primary empirical data from published and unpublished sources were identified for the period 1990 to 2009. Details recorded for each source included the first author, year of publication, report type, survey location name, month and year of survey, the main Anopheles species reported as present and the sampling and identification methods used. Survey locations were geo-positioned using national digital place name archives and on-line geo-referencing resources. The geo-located species-presence data were displayed and described administratively, using first-level administrative units (province), and biologically, based on the predicted spatial margins of Plasmodium falciparum transmission intensity in Kenya for the year 2009. Each geo-located survey site was assigned an urban or rural classification and attributed an altitude value.
A total of 498 spatially unique descriptions of Anopheles vector species across Kenya sampled between 1990 and 2009 were identified, 53% were obtained from published sources and further communications with authors. More than half (54%) of the sites surveyed were investigated since 2005. A total of 174 sites reported the presence of An. gambiae complex without identification of sibling species. Anopheles arabiensis and An. funestus were the most widely reported at 244 and 265 spatially unique sites respectively with the former showing the most ubiquitous distribution nationally. Anopheles gambiae, An. arabiensis, An. funestus and An. pharoensis were reported at sites located in all the transmission intensity classes with more reports of An. gambiae in the highest transmission intensity areas than the very low transmission areas.
A contemporary, spatially defined database of the main malaria vectors in Kenya provides a baseline for future compilations of data and helps identify areas where information is currently lacking. The data collated here are published alongside this paper where it may help guide future sampling location decisions, help with the planning of vector control suites nationally and encourage broader research inquiry into vector species niche modeling.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Risk maps estimating the spatial distribution of infectious diseases are required to guide public health policy from local to global scales. The advent of model-based geostatistics (MBG) has allowed these maps to be generated in a formal statistical framework, providing robust metrics of map uncertainty that enhances their utility for decision-makers. In many settings, decision-makers require spatially aggregated measures over large regions such as the mean prevalence within a country or administrative region, or national populations living under different levels of risk. Existing MBG mapping approaches provide suitable metrics of local uncertainty--the fidelity of predictions at each mapped pixel--but have not been adapted for measuring uncertainty over large areas, due largely to a series of fundamental computational constraints. Here the authors present a new efficient approximating algorithm that can generate for the first time the necessary joint simulation of prevalence values across the very large prediction spaces needed for global scale mapping. This new approach is implemented in conjunction with an established model for P. falciparum allowing robust estimates of mean prevalence at any specified level of spatial aggregation. The model is used to provide estimates of national populations at risk under three policy-relevant prevalence thresholds, along with accompanying model-based measures of uncertainty. By overcoming previously unchallenged computational barriers, this study illustrates how MBG approaches, already at the forefront of infectious disease mapping, can be extended to provide large-scale aggregate measures appropriate for decision-makers.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Simon Hay and colleagues describe how the Malaria Atlas Project has collated anopheline occurrence data to map the geographic distributions of the dominant mosquito vectors of human malaria.
PLoS Medicine 01/2010; 7(2):e1000209. · 15.25 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This is the second in a series of three articles documenting the geographical distribution of 41 dominant vector species (DVS) of human malaria. The first paper addressed the DVS of the Americas and the third will consider those of the Asian Pacific Region. Here, the DVS of Africa, Europe and the Middle East are discussed. The continent of Africa experiences the bulk of the global malaria burden due in part to the presence of the An. gambiae complex. Anopheles gambiae is one of four DVS within the An. gambiae complex, the others being An. arabiensis and the coastal An. merus and An. melas. There are a further three, highly anthropophilic DVS in Africa, An. funestus, An. moucheti and An. nili. Conversely, across Europe and the Middle East, malaria transmission is low and frequently absent, despite the presence of six DVS. To help control malaria in Africa and the Middle East, or to identify the risk of its re-emergence in Europe, the contemporary distribution and bionomics of the relevant DVS are needed.
A contemporary database of occurrence data, compiled from the formal literature and other relevant resources, resulted in the collation of information for seven DVS from 44 countries in Africa containing 4234 geo-referenced, independent sites. In Europe and the Middle East, six DVS were identified from 2784 geo-referenced sites across 49 countries. These occurrence data were combined with expert opinion ranges and a suite of environmental and climatic variables of relevance to anopheline ecology to produce predictive distribution maps using the Boosted Regression Tree (BRT) method.
The predicted geographic extent for the following DVS (or species/suspected species complex*) is provided for Africa: Anopheles (Cellia) arabiensis, An. (Cel.) funestus*, An. (Cel.) gambiae, An. (Cel.) melas, An. (Cel.) merus, An. (Cel.) moucheti and An. (Cel.) nili*, and in the European and Middle Eastern Region: An. (Anopheles) atroparvus, An. (Ano.) labranchiae, An. (Ano.) messeae, An. (Ano.) sacharovi, An. (Cel.) sergentii and An. (Cel.) superpictus*. These maps are presented alongside a bionomics summary for each species relevant to its control.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A research priority for Plasmodium vivax malaria is to improve our understanding of the spatial distribution of risk and its relationship with the burden of P. vivax disease in human populations. The aim of the research outlined in this article is to provide a contemporary evidence-based map of the global spatial extent of P. vivax malaria, together with estimates of the human population at risk (PAR) of any level of transmission in 2009.
The most recent P. vivax case-reporting data that could be obtained for all malaria endemic countries were used to classify risk into three classes: malaria free, unstable (<0.1 case per 1,000 people per annum (p.a.)) and stable (> or =0.1 case per 1,000 p.a.) P. vivax malaria transmission. Risk areas were further constrained using temperature and aridity data based upon their relationship with parasite and vector bionomics. Medical intelligence was used to refine the spatial extent of risk in specific areas where transmission was reported to be absent (e.g., large urban areas and malaria-free islands). The PAR under each level of transmission was then derived by combining the categorical risk map with a high resolution population surface adjusted to 2009. The exclusion of large Duffy negative populations in Africa from the PAR totals was achieved using independent modelling of the gene frequency of this genetic trait. It was estimated that 2.85 billion people were exposed to some risk of P. vivax transmission in 2009, with 57.1% of them living in areas of unstable transmission. The vast majority (2.59 billion, 91.0%) were located in Central and South East (CSE) Asia, whilst the remainder were located in America (0.16 billion, 5.5%) and in the Africa+ region (0.10 billion, 3.5%). Despite evidence of ubiquitous risk of P. vivax infection in Africa, the very high prevalence of Duffy negativity throughout Central and West Africa reduced the PAR estimates substantially.
After more than a century of development and control, P. vivax remains more widely distributed than P. falciparum and is a potential cause of morbidity and mortality amongst the 2.85 billion people living at risk of infection, the majority of whom are in the tropical belt of CSE Asia. The probability of infection is reduced massively across Africa by the frequency of the Duffy negative trait, but transmission does occur on the continent and is a concern for Duffy positive locals and travellers. The final map provides the spatial limits on which the endemicity of P. vivax transmission can be mapped to support future cartographic-based burden estimations.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An increasing knowledge of the global risk of malaria shows that the nations of the Americas have the lowest levels of Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax endemicity worldwide, sustained, in part, by substantive integrated vector control. To help maintain and better target these efforts, knowledge of the contemporary distribution of each of the dominant vector species (DVS) of human malaria is needed, alongside a comprehensive understanding of the ecology and behaviour of each species.
A database of contemporary occurrence data for 41 of the DVS of human malaria was compiled from intensive searches of the formal and informal literature. The results for the nine DVS of the Americas are described in detail here. Nearly 6000 occurrence records were gathered from 25 countries in the region and were complemented by a synthesis of published expert opinion range maps, refined further by a technical advisory group of medical entomologists. A suite of environmental and climate variables of suspected relevance to anopheline ecology were also compiled from open access sources. These three sets of data were then combined to produce predictive species range maps using the Boosted Regression Tree method. The predicted geographic extent for each of the following species (or species complex*) are provided: Anopheles (Nyssorhynchus) albimanus Wiedemann, 1820, An. (Nys.) albitarsis*, An. (Nys.) aquasalis Curry, 1932, An. (Nys.) darlingi Root, 1926, An. (Anopheles) freeborni Aitken, 1939, An. (Nys.) marajoara Galvão & Damasceno, 1942, An. (Nys.) nuneztovari*, An. (Ano.) pseudopunctipennis* and An. (Ano.) quadrimaculatus Say, 1824. A bionomics review summarising ecology and behaviour relevant to the control of each of these species was also compiled.
The distribution maps and bionomics review should both be considered as a starting point in an ongoing process of (i) describing the distributions of these DVS (since the opportunistic sample of occurrence data assembled can be substantially improved) and (ii) documenting their contemporary bionomics (since intervention and control pressures can act to modify behavioural traits). This is the first in a series of three articles describing the distribution of the 41 global DVS worldwide. The remaining two publications will describe those vectors found in (i) Africa, Europe and the Middle East and (ii) in Asia. All geographic distribution maps are being made available in the public domain according to the open access principles of the Malaria Atlas Project.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Roll Back Malaria (RBM) partnership has established goals for protecting vulnerable populations with locally appropriate vector control. In many places, these goals will be achieved by the mass distribution of insecticide treated bednets (ITNs). Mathematical models can forecast an ITN-driven realignment of malaria endemicity, defined by the Plasmodium falciparum parasite rate (PfPR) in children, to predict PfPR endpoints and appropriate program timelines for this change in Africa. The relative ease of measuring PfPR and its widespread use make it particularly suitable for monitoring and evaluation. This theory provides a method for context-dependent evaluation of ITN programs and a basis for setting rational ITN coverage targets over the next decade.
Trends in Parasitology 10/2009; 25(11):511-6. · 5.51 Impact Factor