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Using parasite genetic and human mobility data to infer local and cross-border malaria connectivity in Southern Africa

Using parasite genetic and human mobility data to infer local and cross-border malaria connectivity in Southern Africa
Using parasite genetic and human mobility data to infer local and cross-border malaria connectivity in Southern Africa

Local and cross-border importation remain major challenges to malaria elimination and are difficult to measure using traditional surveillance data. To address this challenge, we systematically collected parasite genetic data and travel history from thousands of malaria cases across northeastern Namibia and estimated human mobility from mobile phone data. We observed strong fine-scale spatial structure in local parasite populations, providing positive evidence that the majority of cases were due to local transmission. This result was largely consistent with estimates from mobile phone and travel history data. However, genetic data identified more detailed and extensive evidence of parasite connectivity over hundreds of kilometers than the other data, within Namibia and across the Angolan and Zambian borders. Our results provide a framework for incorporating genetic data into malaria surveillance and provide evidence that both strengthening of local interventions and regional coordination are likely necessary to eliminate malaria in this region of Southern Africa.

epidemiology, genetic epidemiology, global health, malaria, mobility, P. falciparum, parasite genomics
2050-084X
Tessema, Sofonias
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Wesolowski, Amy
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Chen, Anna
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Murphy, Maxwell
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Wilheim, Jordan
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Mupiri, Anna Rosa
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Ruktanonchai, Nick W.
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Alegana, Victor A.
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Tatem, Andrew J.
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Tambo, Munyaradzi
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Didier, Bradley
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Cohen, Justin M.
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Bennett, Adam
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Sturrock, Hugh Jw
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Gosling, Roland
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Hsiang, Michelle S.
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Smith, David L.
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Mumbengegwi, Davis R.
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Smith, Jennifer L.
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Greenhouse, Bryan
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Tessema, Sofonias
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Wesolowski, Amy
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Chen, Anna
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Murphy, Maxwell
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Wilheim, Jordan
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Mupiri, Anna Rosa
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Ruktanonchai, Nick W.
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Alegana, Victor A.
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Tatem, Andrew J.
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Tambo, Munyaradzi
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Didier, Bradley
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Cohen, Justin M.
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Bennett, Adam
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Sturrock, Hugh Jw
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Gosling, Roland
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Hsiang, Michelle S.
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Smith, David L.
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Mumbengegwi, Davis R.
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Smith, Jennifer L.
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Greenhouse, Bryan
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Tessema, Sofonias, Wesolowski, Amy, Chen, Anna, Murphy, Maxwell, Wilheim, Jordan, Mupiri, Anna Rosa, Ruktanonchai, Nick W., Alegana, Victor A., Tatem, Andrew J., Tambo, Munyaradzi, Didier, Bradley, Cohen, Justin M., Bennett, Adam, Sturrock, Hugh Jw, Gosling, Roland, Hsiang, Michelle S., Smith, David L., Mumbengegwi, Davis R., Smith, Jennifer L. and Greenhouse, Bryan (2019) Using parasite genetic and human mobility data to infer local and cross-border malaria connectivity in Southern Africa. eLife, 8, [e43510]. (doi:10.7554/eLife.43510).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Local and cross-border importation remain major challenges to malaria elimination and are difficult to measure using traditional surveillance data. To address this challenge, we systematically collected parasite genetic data and travel history from thousands of malaria cases across northeastern Namibia and estimated human mobility from mobile phone data. We observed strong fine-scale spatial structure in local parasite populations, providing positive evidence that the majority of cases were due to local transmission. This result was largely consistent with estimates from mobile phone and travel history data. However, genetic data identified more detailed and extensive evidence of parasite connectivity over hundreds of kilometers than the other data, within Namibia and across the Angolan and Zambian borders. Our results provide a framework for incorporating genetic data into malaria surveillance and provide evidence that both strengthening of local interventions and regional coordination are likely necessary to eliminate malaria in this region of Southern Africa.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 6 March 2019
Published date: 2 April 2019
Keywords: epidemiology, genetic epidemiology, global health, malaria, mobility, P. falciparum, parasite genomics

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 431686
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/431686
ISSN: 2050-084X
PURE UUID: f515a109-2830-4ebf-bf64-33162dd6f610
ORCID for Victor A. Alegana: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5177-9227
ORCID for Andrew J. Tatem: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7270-941X

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 13 Jun 2019 16:30
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 01:38

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