Spatiotemporal mapping of malaria incidence in Sudan using routine surveillance data

Published: August 18, 2022


Elagali A, Ahmed A, Makki N, Ismail H, Ajak M, Alene KA, Weiss DJ, Mohammed AA, Abubakr M, Cameron E, Gething P, Elagali A. Spatiotemporal mapping of malaria incidence in Sudan using routine surveillance data. Sci Rep. 2022 Aug 18;12(1):14114. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-16706-1. PMID: 35982088; PMCID: PMC9387890.


Malaria is a serious threat to global health, with over [Formula: see text] of the cases reported in 2020 by the World Health Organization in African countries, including Sudan. Sudan is a low-income country with a limited healthcare system and a substantial burden of malaria. The epidemiology of malaria in Sudan is rapidly changing due to factors including the rapidly developing resistance to drugs and insecticides among the parasites and vectors, respectively; the growing population living in humanitarian settings due to political instability; and the recent emergence of Anopheles stephensi in the country. These factors contribute to changes in the distribution of the parasites species as well as malaria vectors in Sudan, and the shifting patterns of malaria epidemiology underscore the need for investment in improved situational awareness, early preparedness, and a national prevention and control strategy that is updated, evidence based, and proactive. A key component of this strategy is accurate, high-resolution endemicity maps of species-specific malaria. Here, we present a spatiotemporal Bayesian model, developed in collaboration with the Sudanese Ministry of Health, that predicts a fine-scale (1 km [Formula: see text] 1 km) clinical incidence and seasonality profiles for Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax across the country. We use monthly malaria case counts for both species collected via routine surveillance between January 2017 and December 2019, as well as a suite of high-resolution environmental covariates to inform our predictions. These epidemiological maps provide a useful resource for strategic planning and cost-effective implementation of malaria interventions, thus informing policymakers in Sudan to achieve success in malaria control and elimination.

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