Special Issue "Geo-Epidemiology of Malaria"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Infectious Disease Epidemiology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Jean Gaudart
Website
Guest Editor
QuanTIM - Quantitative Methods & Medical Information Processing research team, SESSTIM (AMU, IRD, INSERM), Aix Marseille University, France
Interests: My research activities focus on biostatistics and biomathematics methods applied to the geo-epidemiology of communicable disease and their control in developing countries, mainly on malaria transmission, based on spatiotemporal assessment of transmission dynamics. My interests include the development of surveillance information system, spatial and temporal modeling of outbreak risks, taking into account environmental determinants and control strategies.
Prof. Riana Bornman
Website
Guest Editor
University of Pretoria Institute for Sustainable Malaria Control (UP ISMC)
Interests: My research interest focuses on human populations living in high-risk malaria areas bordering two other African countries. My current research activities focus on understanding favorable environments and human lifestyles in remote rural areas where climate, environmental, and social changes seem to be driving malaria. Developing an epidemiological surveillance system for local conditions will be the basis to design and implement improved malaria control/elimination strategies to achieve elimination.
Dr. Issaka Sagara
Website
Guest Editor
Malaria Research & Training Center – Ogobara Doumbo (MRTC-OKD), Faculty of Pharmacy (FAPH), University of Scinces, Techniques and Technologies of Bamako (USTTB), Bamako Mali
Interests: My research activities focus on malaria research, including the evaluation of malaria vaccines, drugs, malaria epidemiology studies, evaluation of malaria control strategies, and diagnostic tests.
My main current activities focus on:
  • A transmission blocking vaccine trial against Plasmodium falciparum in children and a family compound trial in Mali. This study includes the exploration of the spatiotemporal malaria transmission dynamics as well.
  • Research on surveillance methods specially adapted to malaria transmission at the local scale focusing on understanding of the persistence of the annual epidemics and finding a pathway to better fight malaria.

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Scaling up of malaria control strategies achieved a remarkable reduction in the burden of malaria worldwide over the period from 2000 to 2015. However, the WHO 2018 report stated that “no significant progress in reducing global malaria cases was made” during the 2015–2017 period, with an observed increase of +20 million cases between 2016 and 2017. Unexpected meteorological events and significant sociodemographic, economic, environmental, and entomologic changes have been observed in different regions over the last decade. It is crucial to understand how these changes affect malaria epidemiology in the remaining active foci. Without major gains in the understanding of geo-epidemiology of malaria, control strategies will remain ineffective, and elimination itself may remain out of reach beyond the 2030 objective stated by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Malaria geo-epidemiology can be defined as studying the spatial and temporal profiles of malaria and of the determinants of its persistence and increase, in an ecohealth systemic perspective. This Special Issue seeks papers on malaria geo-epidemiology, which includes geographical studies (at local and/or regional scales), social and economic determinants (including KABP studies), environmental and meteorological factors, parasite diversity, vector diversity and ecology, access to care, spatially driven strategies (e.g., focused screening and/or treatment), population mobility, parasite carriage, local and/or distant transmission, transmission dynamics (including epidemiological models), clinical and intervention trials and prevention, epidemiological surveillance systems, etc. We also welcome high-quality systematic reviews related to these matters. All submitted papers should be presented in a geo-epidemiological approach.

I would be very happy if this Special Issue serves as an identifying set of contextual factors and bottlenecks to locally tailor control strategies against malaria transmission intensity and dynamics. Understanding the complex epidemiological situation will allow reach malaria’s last bastion, or rather, epidemic front line.

Prof. Jean Gaudart
Prof. Riana Bornman
Dr. Issaka Sagara
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Geo-epidemiology
  • Malaria
  • Ecohealth
  • Spatial and temporal statistics
  • Environment and meteorology
  • Social and health Economy
  • Clinical and interventional trials
  • Prevention
  • Entomology
  • Surveillance system
  • Epidemiological models

Published Papers (18 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Malaria in Cambodia: A Retrospective Analysis of a Changing Epidemiology 2006–2019
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1960; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041960 - 18 Feb 2021
Abstract
Background: In Cambodia, malaria persists with changing epidemiology and resistance to antimalarials. This study aimed to describe how malaria has evolved spatially from 2006 to 2019 in Cambodia. Methods: We undertook a secondary analysis of existing malaria data from all government healthcare facilities [...] Read more.
Background: In Cambodia, malaria persists with changing epidemiology and resistance to antimalarials. This study aimed to describe how malaria has evolved spatially from 2006 to 2019 in Cambodia. Methods: We undertook a secondary analysis of existing malaria data from all government healthcare facilities in Cambodia. The epidemiology of malaria was described by sex, age, seasonality, and species. Spatial clusters at the district level were identified with a Poisson model. Results: Overall, incidence decreased from 7.4 cases/1000 population in 2006 to 1.9 in 2019. The decrease has been drastic for females, from 6.7 to 0.6/1000. Adults aged 15–49 years had the highest malaria incidence among all age groups. The proportion of Plasmodium (P.) falciparum + Mixed among confirmed cases declined from 87.9% (n = 67,489) in 2006 to 16.6% (n = 5290) in 2019. Clusters of P. falciparum + Mixed and P. vivax + Mixed were detected in forested provinces along all national borders. Conclusions: There has been a noted decrease in P. falciparum cases in 2019, suggesting that an intensification plan should be maintained. A decline in P. vivax cases was also noted, although less pronounced. Interventions aimed at preventing new infections of P. vivax and relapses should be prioritized. All detected malaria cases should be captured by the national surveillance system to avoid misleading trends. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geo-Epidemiology of Malaria)
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Open AccessArticle
Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax in French Guiana: 2005–2019
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(3), 1077; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18031077 - 26 Jan 2021
Abstract
Aims: This study examines the dynamics of malaria as influenced by meteorological factors in French Guiana from 2005 to 2019. It explores spatial hotspots of malaria transmission and aims to determine the factors associated with variation of hotspots with time. Methods: Data [...] Read more.
Aims: This study examines the dynamics of malaria as influenced by meteorological factors in French Guiana from 2005 to 2019. It explores spatial hotspots of malaria transmission and aims to determine the factors associated with variation of hotspots with time. Methods: Data for individual malaria cases came from the surveillance system of the Delocalized Centers for Prevention and Care (CDPS) (n = 17) from 2005–2019. Meteorological data was acquired from the NASA Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC) database. The Box–Jenkins autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) model tested stationarity of the time series, and the impact of meteorological indices (issued from principal component analysis—PCA) on malaria incidence was determined with a general additive model. Hotspot characterization was performed using spatial scan statistics. Results: The current sample includes 7050 eligible Plasmodium vivax (n = 4111) and Plasmodium falciparum (n = 2939) cases from health centers across French Guiana. The first and second PCA-derived meteorological components (maximum/minimum temperature/minimum humidity and maximum humidity, respectively) were significantly negatively correlated with total malaria incidence with a lag of one week and 10 days, respectively. Overall malaria incidence decreased across the time series until 2017 when incidence began to trend upwards. Hotspot characterization revealed a few health centers that exhibited spatial stability across the entire time series: Saint Georges de l’Oyapock and Antecume Pata for P. falciparum, and Saint Georges de l’Oyapock, Antecume Pata, Régina and Camopi for P. vivax. Conclusions: This study highlighted changing malaria incidence in French Guiana and the influences of meteorological factors on transmission. Many health centers showed spatial stability in transmission, albeit not temporal. Knowledge of the areas of high transmission as well as how and why transmission has changed over time can inform strategies to reduce the transmission of malaria in French Guiana. Hotspots should be further investigated to understand other influences on local transmission, which will help to facilitate elimination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geo-Epidemiology of Malaria)
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Open AccessArticle
Evolution of Malaria Incidence in Five Health Districts, in the Context of the Scaling up of Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention, 2016 to 2018, in Mali
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 840; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020840 - 19 Jan 2021
Abstract
Context: In Mali, malaria transmission is seasonal, exposing children to high morbidity and mortality. A preventative strategy called Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) is being implemented, consisting of the distribution of drugs at monthly intervals for up to 4 months to children between 3 [...] Read more.
Context: In Mali, malaria transmission is seasonal, exposing children to high morbidity and mortality. A preventative strategy called Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) is being implemented, consisting of the distribution of drugs at monthly intervals for up to 4 months to children between 3 and 59 months of age during the period of the year when malaria is most prevalent. This study aimed to analyze the evolution of the incidence of malaria in the general population of the health districts of Kati, Kadiolo, Sikasso, Yorosso, and Tominian in the context of SMC implementation. Methods: This is a transversal study analyzing the routine malaria data and meteorological data of Nasa Giovanni from 2016 to 2018. General Additive Model (GAM) analysis was performed to investigate the relationship between malaria incidence and meteorological factors. Results: From 2016 to 2018, the evolution of the overall incidence in all the study districts was positively associated with the relative humidity, rainfall, and minimum temperature components. The average monthly incidence and the relative humidity varied according to the health district, and the average temperature and rainfall were similar. A decrease in incidence was observed in children under five years old in 2017 and 2018 compared to 2016. Conclusion: A decrease in the incidence of malaria was observed after the SMC rounds. SMC should be applied at optimal periods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geo-Epidemiology of Malaria)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Histidine-Rich Proteins 2 and 3 Gene Deletions in Plasmodium falciparum in Endemic Areas of the Brazilian Amazon
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(1), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18010123 - 26 Dec 2020
Abstract
Histidine-rich proteins 2 and 3 gene (pfhrp2 and pfhrp3) deletions affect the efficacy of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) based on the histidine-rich protein 2 (HRP2), compromising the correct identification of the Plasmodium falciparum species. Therefore, molecular surveillance is necessary for the [...] Read more.
Histidine-rich proteins 2 and 3 gene (pfhrp2 and pfhrp3) deletions affect the efficacy of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) based on the histidine-rich protein 2 (HRP2), compromising the correct identification of the Plasmodium falciparum species. Therefore, molecular surveillance is necessary for the investigation of the actual prevalence of this phenomenon and the extent of the disappearance of these genes in these areas and other South American countries, thus guiding national malaria control programs on the appropriate use of RDTs. This study aimed to evaluate the pfhrp2 and pfhrp3 gene deletion in P. falciparum in endemic areas of the Brazilian Amazon. Aliquots of DNA from the biorepository of the Laboratory of Basic Research in Malaria, Evandro Chagas Institute, with a positive diagnosis for P. falciparum infection as determined by microscopy and molecular assays, were included. Monoinfection was confirmed by nested-polymerase chain reaction assay, and DNA quality was assessed by amplification of the merozoite surface protein-2 gene (msp2). The pfhrp2 and pfhrp3 genes were amplified using primers for the region between exons 1 and 2 and for all extension of exon 2. Aliquots of DNA from 192 P. falciparum isolates were included in the study, with 68.7% (132/192) from the municipality of Cruzeiro do Sul (Acre) and 31.3% (60/192) from Manaus (Amazonas). Of this total, 82.8% (159/192) of the samples were considered of good quality. In the state of Acre, 71.7% (71/99) showed pfhrp2 gene deletion and 94.9% (94/99) showed pfhrp3 gene deletion, while in the state of Amazonas, 100.0% (60/60) of the samples showed pfhrp2 gene deletion and 98.3% (59/60) showed pfhrp3 gene deletion. Moreover, 79.8% (127/159) of isolates displayed gene deletion. Our findings confirm the presence of a parasite population with high frequencies of pfhrp2 and pfhrp3 gene deletions in the Brazilian Amazon region. This suggests reconsidering the use of HRP2-based RDTs in the Acre and Amazonas states and calls attention to the importance of molecular surveillance and mapping of pfhrp2/pfhrp3 deletions in this area and in other locations in the Amazon region to guarantee appropriate patient care, control and ultimately contribute to achieving P. falciparum malaria elimination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geo-Epidemiology of Malaria)
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Open AccessArticle
Targeting Malaria Hotspots to Reduce Transmission Incidence in Senegal
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(1), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18010076 - 24 Dec 2020
Abstract
In central Senegal, malaria incidence declined in response to scaling-up of control measures from 2000 to 2010 and has since remained stable, making elimination unlikely in the short term. Additional control measures are needed to reduce transmission. We simulated chemoprophylaxis interventions targeting malaria [...] Read more.
In central Senegal, malaria incidence declined in response to scaling-up of control measures from 2000 to 2010 and has since remained stable, making elimination unlikely in the short term. Additional control measures are needed to reduce transmission. We simulated chemoprophylaxis interventions targeting malaria hotspots using a metapopulation mathematical model, based on a differential-equation framework and incorporating human mobility. The model was fitted to weekly malaria incidence from 45 villages. Three approaches for selecting intervention targets were compared: (a) villages with malaria cases during the low transmission season of the previous year; (b) villages with highest incidence during the high transmission season of the previous year; (c) villages with highest connectivity with adjacent populations. Our results showed that intervention strategies targeting hotspots would be effective in reducing malaria incidence in both targeted and untargeted areas. Regardless of the intervention strategy used, pre-elimination (1–5 cases per 1000 per year) would not be reached without simultaneously increasing vector control by more than 10%. A cornerstone of malaria control and elimination is the effective targeting of strategic locations. Mathematical tools help to identify those locations and estimate the impact in silico. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geo-Epidemiology of Malaria)
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Open AccessArticle
Disparities in Risks of Malaria Associated with Climatic Variability among Women, Children and Elderly in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9469; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249469 - 17 Dec 2020
Abstract
Malaria occurrence in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh varies by season and year, but this pattern is not well characterized. The role of environmental conditions on the occurrence of this vector-borne parasitic disease in the region is not fully understood. We extracted [...] Read more.
Malaria occurrence in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh varies by season and year, but this pattern is not well characterized. The role of environmental conditions on the occurrence of this vector-borne parasitic disease in the region is not fully understood. We extracted information on malaria patients recorded in the Upazila (sub-district) Health Complex patient registers of Rajasthali in Rangamati district of Bangladesh from February 2000 to November 2009. Weather data for the study area and period were obtained from the Bangladesh Meteorological Department. Non-linear and delayed effects of meteorological drivers, including temperature, relative humidity, and rainfall on the incidence of malaria, were investigated. We observed significant positive association between temperature and rainfall and malaria occurrence, revealing two peaks at 19 °C (logarithms of relative risks (logRR) = 4.3, 95% CI: 1.1–7.5) and 24.5 °C (logRR = 4.7, 95% CI: 1.8–7.6) for temperature and at 86 mm (logRR = 19.5, 95% CI: 11.7–27.3) and 284 mm (logRR = 17.6, 95% CI: 9.9–25.2) for rainfall. In sub-group analysis, women were at a much higher risk of developing malaria at increased temperatures. People over 50 years and children under 15 years were more susceptible to malaria at increased rainfall. The observed associations have policy implications. Further research is needed to expand these findings and direct resources to the vulnerable populations for malaria prevention and control in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh and the region with similar settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geo-Epidemiology of Malaria)
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial and Temporal Analysis of Plasmodium knowlesi Infection in Peninsular Malaysia, 2011 to 2018
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9271; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249271 - 11 Dec 2020
Abstract
The life-threatening zoonotic malaria cases caused by Plasmodium knowlesi in Malaysia has recently been reported to be the highest among all malaria cases; however, previous studies have mainly focused on the transmission of P. knowlesi in Malaysian Borneo (East Malaysia). This study aimed [...] Read more.
The life-threatening zoonotic malaria cases caused by Plasmodium knowlesi in Malaysia has recently been reported to be the highest among all malaria cases; however, previous studies have mainly focused on the transmission of P. knowlesi in Malaysian Borneo (East Malaysia). This study aimed to describe the transmission patterns of P. knowlesi infection in Peninsular Malaysia (West Malaysia). The spatial distribution of P. knowlesi was mapped across Peninsular Malaysia using Geographic Information System techniques. Local indicators of spatial associations were used to evaluate spatial patterns of P. knowlesi incidence. Seasonal autoregressive integrated moving average models were utilized to analyze the monthly incidence of knowlesi malaria in the hotspot region from 2012 to 2017 and to forecast subsequent incidence in 2018. Spatial analysis revealed that hotspots were clustered in the central-northern region of Peninsular Malaysia. Time series analysis revealed the strong seasonality of transmission from January to March. This study provides fundamental information on the spatial distribution and temporal dynamic of P. knowlesi in Peninsular Malaysia from 2011 to 2018. Current control policy should consider different strategies to prevent the transmission of both human and zoonotic malaria, particularly in the hotspot region, to ensure a successful elimination of malaria in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geo-Epidemiology of Malaria)
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Open AccessArticle
Two-Year Scale-Up of Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention Reduced Malaria Morbidity among Children in the Health District of Koutiala, Mali
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6639; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186639 - 11 Sep 2020
Abstract
Background: Previous controlled studies demonstrated seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) reduces malaria morbidity by >80% in children aged 3–59 months. Here, we assessed malaria morbidity after large-scale SMC implementation during a pilot campaign in the health district of Koutiala, Mali. Methods: Starting in August [...] Read more.
Background: Previous controlled studies demonstrated seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) reduces malaria morbidity by >80% in children aged 3–59 months. Here, we assessed malaria morbidity after large-scale SMC implementation during a pilot campaign in the health district of Koutiala, Mali. Methods: Starting in August 2012, children received three rounds of SMC with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) and amodiaquine (AQ). From July 2013 onward, children received four rounds of SMC. Prevalence of malaria infection, clinical malaria and anemia were assessed during two cross-sectional surveys conducted in August 2012 and June 2014. Investigations involved 20 randomly selected clusters in 2012 against 10 clusters in 2014. Results: Overall, 662 children were included in 2012, and 670 in 2014. Children in 2014 versus those surveyed in 2012 showed reduced proportions of malaria infection (12.4% in 2014 versus 28.7% in 2012 (p = 0.001)), clinical malaria (0.3% versus 4.2%, respectively (p < 0.001)), and anemia (50.1% versus 67.4%, respectively (p = 0.001)). A propensity score approach that accounts for environmental differences showed that SMC conveyed a significant protective effect against malaria infection (IR = 0.01, 95% CI (0.0001; 0.09), clinical malaria (OR = 0.25, 95% CI (0.06; 0.85)), and hemoglobin concentration (β = 1.3, 95% CI (0.69; 1.96)) in 2012 and 2014, respectively. Conclusion: SMC significantly reduced frequency of malaria infection, clinical malaria and anemia two years after SMC scale-up in Koutiala. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geo-Epidemiology of Malaria)
Open AccessArticle
Predicting Malaria Transmission Dynamics in Dangassa, Mali: A Novel Approach Using Functional Generalized Additive Models
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6339; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176339 - 31 Aug 2020
Abstract
Mali aims to reach the pre-elimination stage of malaria by the next decade. This study used functional regression models to predict the incidence of malaria as a function of past meteorological patterns to better prevent and to act proactively against impending malaria outbreaks. [...] Read more.
Mali aims to reach the pre-elimination stage of malaria by the next decade. This study used functional regression models to predict the incidence of malaria as a function of past meteorological patterns to better prevent and to act proactively against impending malaria outbreaks. All data were collected over a five-year period (2012–2017) from 1400 persons who sought treatment at Dangassa’s community health center. Rainfall, temperature, humidity, and wind speed variables were collected. Functional Generalized Spectral Additive Model (FGSAM), Functional Generalized Linear Model (FGLM), and Functional Generalized Kernel Additive Model (FGKAM) were used to predict malaria incidence as a function of the pattern of meteorological indicators over a continuum of the 18 weeks preceding the week of interest. Their respective outcomes were compared in terms of predictive abilities. The results showed that (1) the highest malaria incidence rate occurred in the village 10 to 12 weeks after we observed a pattern of air humidity levels >65%, combined with two or more consecutive rain episodes and a mean wind speed <1.8 m/s; (2) among the three models, the FGLM obtained the best results in terms of prediction; and (3) FGSAM was shown to be a good compromise between FGLM and FGKAM in terms of flexibility and simplicity. The models showed that some meteorological conditions may provide a basis for detection of future outbreaks of malaria. The models developed in this paper are useful for implementing preventive strategies using past meteorological and past malaria incidence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geo-Epidemiology of Malaria)
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Open AccessArticle
Spatio-Temporal Dynamic of Malaria Incidence: A Comparison of Two Ecological Zones in Mali
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(13), 4698; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17134698 - 30 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Malaria transmission largely depends on environmental, climatic, and hydrological conditions. In Mali, malaria epidemiological patterns are nested within three ecological zones. This study aimed at assessing the relationship between those conditions and the incidence of malaria in Dangassa and Koila, Mali. Malaria data [...] Read more.
Malaria transmission largely depends on environmental, climatic, and hydrological conditions. In Mali, malaria epidemiological patterns are nested within three ecological zones. This study aimed at assessing the relationship between those conditions and the incidence of malaria in Dangassa and Koila, Mali. Malaria data was collected through passive case detection at community health facilities of each study site from June 2015 to January 2017. Climate and environmental data were obtained over the same time period from the Goddard Earth Sciences (Giovanni) platform and hydrological data from Mali hydraulic services. A generalized additive model was used to determine the lagged time between each principal component analysis derived component and the incidence of malaria cases, and also used to analyze the relationship between malaria and the lagged components in a multivariate approach. Malaria transmission patterns were bimodal at both sites, but peak and lull periods were longer lasting for Koila study site. Temperatures were associated with malaria incidence in both sites. In Dangassa, the wind speed (p = 0.005) and river heights (p = 0.010) contributed to increasing malaria incidence, in contrast to Koila, where it was humidity (p < 0.001) and vegetation (p = 0.004). The relationships between environmental factors and malaria incidence differed between the two settings, implying different malaria dynamics and adjustments in the conception and plan of interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geo-Epidemiology of Malaria)
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Open AccessArticle
Application of Functional Data Analysis to Identify Patterns of Malaria Incidence, to Guide Targeted Control Strategies
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 4168; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17114168 - 11 Jun 2020
Abstract
We introduce an approach based on functional data analysis to identify patterns of malaria incidence to guide effective targeting of malaria control in a seasonal transmission area. Using functional data method, a smooth function (functional data or curve) was fitted from the time [...] Read more.
We introduce an approach based on functional data analysis to identify patterns of malaria incidence to guide effective targeting of malaria control in a seasonal transmission area. Using functional data method, a smooth function (functional data or curve) was fitted from the time series of observed malaria incidence for each of 575 villages in west-central Senegal from 2008 to 2012. These 575 smooth functions were classified using hierarchical clustering (Ward’s method), and several different dissimilarity measures. Validity indices were used to determine the number of distinct temporal patterns of malaria incidence. Epidemiological indicators characterizing the resulting malaria incidence patterns were determined from the velocity and acceleration of their incidences over time. We identified three distinct patterns of malaria incidence: high-, intermediate-, and low-incidence patterns in respectively 2% (12/575), 17% (97/575), and 81% (466/575) of villages. Epidemiological indicators characterizing the fluctuations in malaria incidence showed that seasonal outbreaks started later, and ended earlier, in the low-incidence pattern. Functional data analysis can be used to identify patterns of malaria incidence, by considering their temporal dynamics. Epidemiological indicators derived from their velocities and accelerations, may guide to target control measures according to patterns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geo-Epidemiology of Malaria)
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Open AccessArticle
The Importance of an Active Case Detection (ACD) Programme for Malaria among Migrants from Malaria Endemic Countries: The Greek Experience in a Receptive and Vulnerable Area
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 4080; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17114080 - 08 Jun 2020
Abstract
Greece has been malaria-free since 1974. In October 2011, following an outbreak of 36 locally acquired malaria (LAM) cases in Evrotas Municipality, a Pro-Active Case Detection (PACD) program for malaria was implemented among migrants from malaria-endemic countries, to support early diagnosis and treatment [...] Read more.
Greece has been malaria-free since 1974. In October 2011, following an outbreak of 36 locally acquired malaria (LAM) cases in Evrotas Municipality, a Pro-Active Case Detection (PACD) program for malaria was implemented among migrants from malaria-endemic countries, to support early diagnosis and treatment of cases. We evaluated the PACD program for the years 2012–2017 using indicators such as the number of locally acquired cases, the detection rate/sensitivity and the timeliness of diagnosis and treatment. We visited each migrant home every 7–15 days to screen migrants for malaria symptoms, performing Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) and blood smears on symptomatic patients. We estimated: (i) the number of malaria cases detected by the PACD, divided by the total number of reported malaria cases during the same period among the same population; (ii) the time between onset of symptoms, diagnosis and initiation of treatment. The total number of migrants who were screened for malaria symptoms for the years 2012–2017 was 5057 with 84,169 fever screenings conducted, while 2288 RDTs and 1736 blood smears were performed. During the same period, 53 imported P. vivax malaria cases were detected, while incidence of malaria among migrants was estimated at 1.8% annually. Ten and one LAM cases were also reported in 2012 and 2015, respectively. Sensitivity of PACD ranged from 86% to 100%; median timeliness between onset of symptoms and diagnosis decreased from 72 h in 2012 to 12 h in 2017 (83% decrease), while timeliness between diagnosis and treatment initiation was 0 h. The implementation of PACD could be considered an effective prevention and response tool against malaria re-introduction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geo-Epidemiology of Malaria)
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Open AccessArticle
Geo-Epidemiology of Malaria at the Health Area Level, Dire Health District, Mali, 2013–2017
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 3982; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17113982 - 04 Jun 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Background: According to the World Health Organization, there were more than 228 million cases of malaria globally in 2018, with 93% of cases occurring in Africa; in Mali, a 13% increase in the number of cases was observed between 2015 and 2018; [...] Read more.
Background: According to the World Health Organization, there were more than 228 million cases of malaria globally in 2018, with 93% of cases occurring in Africa; in Mali, a 13% increase in the number of cases was observed between 2015 and 2018; this study aimed to evaluate the impact of meteorological and environmental factors on the geo-epidemiology of malaria in the health district of Dire, Mali. Methods: Meteorological and environmental variables were synthesized using principal component analysis and multiple correspondence analysis, the relationship between malaria incidence and synthetic indicators was determined using a multivariate general additive model; hotspots were detected by SaTScan. Results: Malaria incidence showed high inter and intra-annual variability; the period of high transmission lasted from September to February; health areas characterized by proximity to the river, propensity for flooding and high agricultural yield were the most at risk, with an incidence rate ratio of 2.21 with confidence intervals (95% CI: 1.85–2.58); malaria incidence in Dire declined from 120 to 20 cases per 10,000 person-weeks between 2013 and 2017. Conclusion: The identification of areas and periods of high transmission can help improve malaria control strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geo-Epidemiology of Malaria)
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Open AccessArticle
How to Estimate Optimal Malaria Readiness Indicators at Health-District Level: Findings from the Burkina Faso Service Availability and Readiness Assessment (SARA) Data
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 3923; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17113923 - 01 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
One of the major contributors of malaria-related deaths in Sub-Saharan African countries is the limited accessibility to quality care. In these countries, malaria control activities are implemented at the health-district level (operational entity of the national health system), while malaria readiness indicators are [...] Read more.
One of the major contributors of malaria-related deaths in Sub-Saharan African countries is the limited accessibility to quality care. In these countries, malaria control activities are implemented at the health-district level (operational entity of the national health system), while malaria readiness indicators are regionally representative. This study provides an approach for estimating health district-level malaria readiness indicators from survey data designed to provide regionally representative estimates. A binomial-hierarchical Bayesian spatial prediction method was applied to Burkina Faso Service Availability and Readiness Assessment (SARA) survey data to provide estimates of essential equipment availability and readiness for malaria care. Predicted values of each indicator were adjusted by the type of health facility, location, and population density. Then, a health district composite readiness profile was built via hierarchical ascendant classification. All surveyed health-facilities were mandated by the Ministry of Health to manage malaria cases. The spatial distribution of essential equipment and malaria readiness was heterogeneous. Around 62.9% of health districts had a high level of readiness to provide malaria care and prevention during pregnancy. Low-performance scores for managing malaria cases were found in big cities. Health districts with low coverage for both first-line antimalarial drugs and rapid diagnostic tests were Baskuy, Bogodogo, Boulmiougou, Nongr-Massoum, Sig-Nonghin, Dafra, and Do. We provide health district estimates and reveal gaps in basic equipment and malaria management resources in some districts that need to be filled. By providing local-scale estimates, this approach could be replicated for other types of indicators to inform decision makers and health program managers and to identify priority areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geo-Epidemiology of Malaria)
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Open AccessArticle
Statistical Modelling of the Effects of Weather Factors on Malaria Occurrence in Abuja, Nigeria
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3474; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103474 - 16 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Background: despite the increase in malaria control and elimination efforts, weather patterns and ecological factors continue to serve as important drivers of malaria transmission dynamics. This study examined the statistical relationship between weather variables and malaria incidence in Abuja, Nigeria. Methodology/Principal Findings [...] Read more.
Background: despite the increase in malaria control and elimination efforts, weather patterns and ecological factors continue to serve as important drivers of malaria transmission dynamics. This study examined the statistical relationship between weather variables and malaria incidence in Abuja, Nigeria. Methodology/Principal Findings: monthly data on malaria incidence and weather variables were collected in Abuja from the year 2000 to 2013. The analysis of count outcomes was based on generalized linear models, while Pearson correlation analysis was undertaken at the bivariate level. The results showed more malaria incidence in the months with the highest rainfall recorded (June–August). Based on the negative binomial model, every unit increase in humidity corresponds to about 1.010 (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.005–1.015) times increase in malaria cases while the odds of having malaria decreases by 5.8% for every extra unit increase in temperature: 0.942 (95% CI, 0.928–0.956). At lag 1 month, there was a significant positive effect of rainfall on malaria incidence while at lag 4, temperature and humidity had significant influences. Conclusions: malaria remains a widespread infectious disease among the local subjects in the study area. Relative humidity was identified as one of the factors that influence a malaria epidemic at lag 0 while the biggest significant influence of temperature was observed at lag 4. Therefore, emphasis should be given to vector control activities and to create public health awareness on the proper usage of intervention measures such as indoor residual sprays to reduce the epidemic especially during peak periods with suitable weather conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geo-Epidemiology of Malaria)
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Open AccessArticle
Malaria Case Fatality Rate among Children under Five in Burkina Faso: An Assessment of the Spatiotemporal Trends Following the Implementation of Control Programs
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(6), 1840; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17061840 - 12 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Reducing the 2015 level of malaria mortality by 90% by 2030 is a goal set by the World Health Organization (WHO). In Burkina Faso, several malaria control programs proven to be effective were implemented over the last decade. In parallel, the progressive strengthening [...] Read more.
Reducing the 2015 level of malaria mortality by 90% by 2030 is a goal set by the World Health Organization (WHO). In Burkina Faso, several malaria control programs proven to be effective were implemented over the last decade. In parallel, the progressive strengthening of the health surveillance system is generating valuable data, which represents a great opportunity for analyzing the trends in malaria burden and assessing the effect of these control programs. Complementary programs were rolled out at different time points and paces, and the present work aims at investigating both the spatial and temporal pattern of malaria case fatality rate (mCFR) by considering the effect of combining specific and unspecific malaria control programs. To this end, data on severe malaria cases and malaria deaths, aggregated at health district level between January 2013 and December 2018, were extracted from the national health data repository (ENDOS-BF). A Bayesian spatiotemporal zero-inflated Poisson model was fitted to quantify the strength of the association of malaria control programs with monthly mCFR trends at health district level. The model was adjusted for contextual variables. We found that monthly mCFR decreased from 2.0 (95% IC 1.9–2.1%) to 0.9 (95% IC 0.8–1.0%) deaths for 100 severe malaria cases in 2013 and 2018, respectively. Health districts with high mCFR were identified in the northern, northwestern and southwestern parts of the country. The availability of malaria rapid diagnosis tests (IRR: 0.54; CrI: 0.47, 0.62) and treatment (IRR: 0.50; CrI: 0.41, 0.61) were significantly associated with a reduction in the mCFR. The risk of dying from malaria was lower in the period after the free healthcare policy compared with the period before (IRR: 0.47; CrI: 0.38, 0.58). Our findings highlighted locations that are most in need of targeted interventions and the necessity to sustain and strengthen the launched health programs to further reduce the malaria deaths in Burkina Faso. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geo-Epidemiology of Malaria)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Free Healthcare Policy for Children under Five Years Old on the Incidence of Reported Malaria Cases in Burkina Faso by Bayesian Modelling: “Not only the Ears but also the Head of the Hippopotamus”
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(2), 417; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17020417 - 08 Jan 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Burkina Faso has recently implemented an additional strategy, the free healthcare policy, to further improve maternal and child health. This policy targets children under five who bear the brunt of the malaria scourge. The effects of the free-of-charge healthcare were previously assessed in [...] Read more.
Burkina Faso has recently implemented an additional strategy, the free healthcare policy, to further improve maternal and child health. This policy targets children under five who bear the brunt of the malaria scourge. The effects of the free-of-charge healthcare were previously assessed in women but not in children. The present study aims at filling this gap by assessing the effect of this policy in children under five with a focus on the induced spatial and temporal changes in malaria morbidity. We used a Bayesian spatiotemporal negative binomial model to investigate the space–time variation in malaria incidence in relation to the implementation of the policy. The analysis relied on malaria routine surveillance data extracted from the national health data repository and spanning the period from January 2013 to December 2018. The model was adjusted for meteorological and contextual confounders. We found that the number of presumed and confirmed malaria cases per 1000 children per month increased between 2013 and 2018. We further found that the implementation of the free healthcare policy was significantly associated with a two-fold increase in the number of tested and confirmed malaria cases compared with the period before the policy rollout. This effect was, however, heterogeneous across the health districts. We attributed the rise in malaria incidence following the policy rollout to an increased use of health services combined with an increased availability of rapid tests and a higher compliance to the “test and treat” policy. The observed heterogeneity in the policy effect was attributed to parallel control interventions, some of which were rolled out at different paces and scales. Our findings call for a sustained and reinforced effort to test all suspected cases so that, alongside an improved case treatment, the true picture of the malaria scourge in children under five emerges clearly (see the hippopotamus almost entirely). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geo-Epidemiology of Malaria)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Malaria Vectors and Vector Surveillance in Limpopo Province (South Africa): 1927 to 2018
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 4125; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17114125 - 09 Jun 2020
Abstract
Despite the annual implementation of a robust and extensive indoor residual spraying programme against malaria vectors in Limpopo Province (South Africa), significant transmission continues and is a serious impediment to South Africa’s malaria elimination objectives. In order to gain a better understanding regarding [...] Read more.
Despite the annual implementation of a robust and extensive indoor residual spraying programme against malaria vectors in Limpopo Province (South Africa), significant transmission continues and is a serious impediment to South Africa’s malaria elimination objectives. In order to gain a better understanding regarding possible causes of this residual malaria, we conducted a literature review of the historical species composition and abundance of malaria vector mosquitoes in the Limpopo River Valley region of the Vhembe District, northern Limpopo Province, the region with the highest remaining annual malaria cases in South Africa. In addition, mosquito surveys were carried out in the same region between October 2017 and October 2018. A total of 2225 adult mosquitoes were collected using CO2-baited tent and light traps, human landing catches and cow-baited traps. Of the 1443 Anopheles collected, 516 were members of the An. gambiae complex and 511 An. funestus group. In the malaria endemic rural areas outside the Kruger National Park, one specimen each of An. gambiae s.s. and An. funestus and only three of An. arabiensis were collected. The latter species was abundant at a remote hot spring in the neighboring Kruger National Park. Eighteen other species of Anopheles were collected. Our survey results support the historical findings that An. arabiensis, the species widely held to be the prime malaria vector in South Africa, is a rare species in the malaria endemic Limpopo River Valley. The implications of the mosquito surveys for malaria transmission, elimination and vector control in northern Limpopo Province and neighboring regions are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geo-Epidemiology of Malaria)
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