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      Towards malaria elimination in Mpumalanga, South Africa: a population-level mathematical modelling approach

      1 , , 1 , 2 , 3 , 4
      Malaria Journal
      BioMed Central

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          Mpumalanga in South Africa is committed to eliminating malaria by 2018 and efforts are increasing beyond that necessary for malaria control. Differential Equation models may be used to study the incidence and spread of disease with an important benefit being the ability to enact exogenous change on the system to predict impact without committing any real resources. The model is a deterministic non-linear ordinary differential equation representation of the dynamics of the human population. The model is fitted to weekly data of treated cases from 2002 to 2008, and then validated with data from 2009 to 2012. Elimination-focused interventions such as the scale-up of vector control, mass drug administration, a focused mass screen and treat campaign and foreign source reduction are applied to the model to assess their potential impact on transmission.


          Scaling up vector control by 10% and 20% resulted in substantial predicted decreases in local infections with little impact on imported infections. Mass drug administration is a high impact but short-lived intervention with predicted decreases in local infections of less that one infection per year. However, transmission reverted to pre-intervention levels within three years. Focused mass screen and treat campaigns at border-entry points are predicted to result in a knock-on decrease in local infections through a reduction in the infectious reservoir. This knock-on decrease in local infections was also predicted to be achieved through foreign source reduction. Elimination was only predicted to be possible under the scenario of zero imported infections in Mpumalanga.


          A constant influx of imported infections show that vector control alone will not be able to eliminate local malaria as it is insufficient to interrupt transmission. Both mass interventions have a large and immediate impact. Yet in countries with a large migrant population, these interventions may fail due to the reintroduction of parasites and their impact may be short-lived. While all strategies (in isolation or combined) contributed to decreasing local infections, none was predicted to decrease local infections to zero. The number of imported infections highlights the importance of reducing imported infections at source, and a regional approach to malaria elimination.

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          Most cited references22

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          Operational strategies to achieve and maintain malaria elimination

          Summary Present elimination strategies are based on recommendations derived during the Global Malaria Eradication Program of the 1960s. However, many countries considering elimination nowadays have high intrinsic transmission potential and, without the support of a regional campaign, have to deal with the constant threat of imported cases of the disease, emphasising the need to revisit the strategies on which contemporary elimination programmes are based. To eliminate malaria, programmes need to concentrate on identification and elimination of foci of infections through both passive and active methods of case detection. This approach needs appropriate treatment of both clinical cases and asymptomatic infections, combined with targeted vector control. Draining of infectious pools entirely will not be sufficient since they could be replenished by imported malaria. Elimination will thus additionally need identification and treatment of incoming infections before they lead to transmission, or, more realistically, embarking on regional initiatives to dry up importation at its source.
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            A climate-based distribution model of malaria transmission in sub-Saharan Africa.

            Malaria remains the single largest threat to child survival in sub-Saharan Africa and warrants long-term investment for control. Previous malaria distribution maps have been vague and arbitrary. Marlies Craig, Bob Snow and David le Sueur here describe a simple numerical approach to defining distribution of malaria transmission, based upon biological constraints of climate on parasite and vector development. The model compared well with contemporary field data and historical 'expert opinion' maps, excepting small-scale ecological anomalies. The model provides a numerical basis for further refinement and prediction of the impact of climate change on transmission. Together with population, morbidity and mortality data, the model provides a fundamental tool for strategic control of malaria.
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              Historical review of malarial control in southern African with emphasis on the use of indoor residual house-spraying.

              Indoor residual house-spraying (IRS) mainly with dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) was the principal method by which malaria was eradicated or greatly reduced in many countries in the world between the 1940s and 1960s. In sub-Saharan Africa early malarial eradication pilot projects also showed that malaria is highly responsive to vector control by IRS but transmission could not be interrupted in the endemic tropical and lowland areas. As a result IRS was not taken to scale in most endemic areas of the continent with the exception of southern Africa and some island countries such as Reunion, Mayotte, Zanzibar, Cape Verde and Sao Tome. In southern Africa large-scale malarial control operations based on IRS with DDT and benzene hexachloride (BHC) were initiated in a number of countries to varying degrees. The objective of this review was to investigate the malarial situation before and after the introduction of indoor residual insecticide spraying in South Africa, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique using historical malarial data and related information collected from National Malaria Control Programmes, national archives and libraries, as well as academic institutions in the respective countries. Immediately after the inception of IRS with insecticides, dramatic reductions in malaria and its vectors were recorded. Countries that developed National Malaria Control Programmes during this phase and had built up human and organizational resources made significant advances towards malarial control. Malaria was reduced from hyper- to meso-endemicity and from meso- to hypo-endemicity and in certain instances to complete eradication. Data are presented on the effectiveness of IRS as a malarial control tool in six southern African countries. Recent trends in and challenges to malarial control in the region are also discussed.

                Author and article information

                Malar J
                Malar. J
                Malaria Journal
                BioMed Central
                3 August 2014
                : 13
                : 297
                [1 ]Department of Statistical Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
                [2 ]Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
                [3 ]Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand
                [4 ]Centre for Tropical Medicine, Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, Churchill Hospital, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
                Copyright © 2014 Silal et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                : 3 April 2014
                : 22 July 2014

                Infectious disease & Microbiology
                Infectious disease & Microbiology


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