Malaria claims hundreds of thousands of lives each year, most of them children. A malaria-free world is the World Health Organizations vision, but elimination from the southeast Asian Region is hampered by factors including anti-malarial resistance and systematic underreporting. Malaria is a significant public health problem in Bangladesh and while there have been recent gains in control, there is large spatial and temporal heterogeneity in the disease burden. This study aims to determine the pattern and stability of malaria hotspots in Bangladesh with the end goal of informing intervention planning for elimination.
Malaria in Bangladesh exhibited highly seasonal, hypoendemic transmission in geographic hotspots, which remained conserved over time. The southeast areas of the Chittagong Hill Tracts were identified as malaria hotspots for all 4 years examined. Similarly, areas in Sunamganj and Netrakona districts in the Northeast were hotspots for 20132016. Highly stable hotspots from 1 year predicted the following years hotspot locations in the southeast of Bangladesh. Hotspots did not appear to act as sources of spread with no evidence of consistent patterns of contiguous spread or recession of hotspots as high or low transmission seasons progressed.
Areas were identified with temporal and spatial clustering of high malaria incidence in Bangladesh. Further studies are required to understand the vector, sociodemographic and disease dynamics within these hotspots. Given the low caseloads occurring in the low transmission seasons, and the conserved nature of malaria hotspots, directing resources towards these areas may be an efficient way to achieve malaria elimination in Bangladesh.