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Human mobility patterns and malaria importation on Bioko Island

Abstract

Malaria burden on Bioko Island has decreased significantly over the past 15 years. The impact of interventions on malaria prevalence, however, has recently stalled. Here, we use data from island-wide, annual malaria indicator surveys to investigate human movement patterns and their relationship to Plasmodium falciparum prevalence. Using geostatistical and mathematical modelling, we find that off-island travel is more prevalent in and around the capital, Malabo. The odds of malaria infection among off-island travelers are significantly higher than the rest of the population. We estimate that malaria importation rates are high enough to explain malaria prevalence in much of Malabo and its surroundings, and that local transmission is highest along the West Coast of the island. Despite uncertainty, these estimates of residual transmission and importation serve as a basis for evaluating progress towards elimination and for efficiently allocating resources as Bioko makes the transition from control to elimination.

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