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Early warnings of the potential for malaria transmission in rural Africa using the hydrology, entomology and malaria transmission simulator (HYDREMATS)

DOI: 10.1186/1475-2875-9-323

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HYDREMATS is used to make predictions of mosquito populations and vectorial capacity for 2005, 2006, and 2007 in Banizoumbou village in western Niger. HYDREMATS is forced by observed rainfall, followed by a rainfall prediction based on the seasonal mean rainfall for a period two or four weeks into the future.Predictions made using this method provided reasonable estimates of mosquito populations and vectorial capacity, two to four weeks in advance. The predictions were significantly improved compared to those made when HYDREMATS was forced with seasonal mean rainfall alone.HYDREMATS can be used to make reasonable predictions of mosquito populations and vectorial capacity, and provide early warnings of the potential for malaria epidemics in Africa.The Roll Back Malaria (RBM) initiative has published a framework for malaria early warning systems (MEWS) in Africa [1]. These systems rely on indicators of vulnerability, transmission risk and early case detection in order to predict the onset and severity of malaria epidemics. Monitoring rainfall has been recognized as an essential component for MEWS and is being used by malaria control programmes in a number of African countries [2]. Hay et al [3] retrospectively determined that monitoring dekadal (every 10 days) estimates of rainfall anomalies provided by the Africa Data Dissemination Service (ADDS) could have provided a reliable warning of a major malaria epidemic that occurred in 2002 in Kenya. Thomson et al [4] suggested that in Botswana, rainfall from December through February could be used to give an early warning for high transmission years.While excess rainfall is often associated with increased malaria transmission, this is not always the case. For example, heavy rainfall associated with the 1997-98 El Nino event was associated with decreased malaria transmission in the highlands of Tanzania, presumably by washing away larval breeding sites [5]. Similarly, decreases in rainfall have been observed to increase mal


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