Spatial targeting of malaria for control and elimination

Bousema Teun

Teun Bousema and Robert Sauerwein recently published new insights in the epidemiology ofPlasmodium falciparummalaria in top journal PLoS Medicine. Heterogeneity is a common facet of many infectious diseases, whereby infection and disease are concentrated in a small proportion of individuals rather than distributed evenly across the population. In malaria this is a manifested as small groups of households, or hotspots, within malaria endemic communities that are at a substantially increased risk of malaria transmission compared to surrounding households. These hotspots exist in all transmission settings, though are less easily detected at high transmission. The importance for malaria control and elimination lies in the fact that hotspots maintain transmission in low transmission seasons representing the source of infection to the general community when vector densities increase. Targeting hotspots is already part of later stage elimination programmes but Bousema and Sauerwein argue that this may have wider utility at higher transmission levels. Mathematical models are used to support their arguments and to guide the choice of effective interventions.

Bousema T, Griffin JT, Sauerwein RW, Smith DL, Churcher TS, Takken W, Ghani A, Drakeley C, Gosling R. Hitting hotspots: spatial targeting of malaria for control and elimination. PLoS Medicine 2012; 9:e1001165.

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