Calls for the eradication of malaria require the development of global and regional strategies based on a strong and consistent evidence base. Evidence from the previous global malaria eradication program and more recent transborder control campaigns have shown the importance of accounting for human movement in introducing infections to areas targeted for elimination. Here, census-based migration data were analyzed with network analysis tools, Plasmodium falciparum malaria transmission maps, and global population databases to map globally communities of countries linked by relatively high levels of infection movements. The likely principal sources and destinations of imported cases in each region were also mapped. Results indicate that certain groups of countries, such as those in West Africa and central Asia are much more strongly connected by relatively high levels of population and infection movement than others. In contrast, countries such as Ethiopia and Myanmar display significantly greater isolation in terms of likely infection movements in and out. The mapping here of both communities of countries linked by likely higher levels of infection movement, and “natural” migration boundaries that display reduced movement of people and infections between regions has practical utility. These maps can inform the design of malaria elimination strategies by identifying regional communities of countries afforded protection from recolonization by surrounding regions of reduced migration. For more isolated countries, a nationally focused control or elimination program is likely to stand a better chance of success than those receiving high levels of visitors and migrants from high-transmission regions.
Read more here: https://www.pnas.org/content/107/27/12222