Elimination of malaria from developing countries has gained ground over the last several decades, only to fall back again in recent years. Many issues have been associated with this problem, including malaria parasites that are no longer affected by drug therapies and mosquitoes that can survive insecticide sprays. Additionally, areas with low levels of malaria may relax their control efforts, allowing stronger parasites and mosquitoes to resurge. CIDD researchers Victoria Barclay, Rachel Smith and Jill Findeis discussed another barrier to malaria elimination, which is our inability to accurately predict and react rapidly to malaria outbreaks.
Malaria elimination will depend on monitoring parasites and vectors throughout the disease cycle, but also on getting that information to the organizations poised to implement control measures. Detailed information about rates of human infection, as well as about the presence of resistant parasites in those infections, is needed. Mosquito sampling is important for determining transmission intensity and for detecting insecticide resistant mosquito populations. The exchange of such data among scientists, local governments and health agencies could improve the efficacy of decisions about mosquito control, medicine distribution and public education. However, implementing data platforms to gather, catalogue and disseminate monitoring information to the decision makers can be difficult in malarious areas. For example, many areas have limited or no access to computers or the internet. One solution suggested by the authors involved the use of mobile phones for quick data sharing and cataloguing. These platforms could decrease the time delay for control implementation, which currently depends on the reactions of government, health agencies and other groups to sometimes distant communities.
These CIDD researchers have highlighted the importance of proper malaria monitoring and that accessible data is just as important as developing and employing control technologies.
Synopsis by Brittany Dodson
Written By: Barclay VC, Smith RA, & Findeis JL
Journal Reference: 0.669444444
Paper Id: 10.1186/1475-2875-11-304