Measuring the contribution of human mobility to malaria persistence

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Nov 11, 2020
Marcelo F. C. Gomes, Cláudia T Codeço, Leonardo S. Bastos & Raquel M. Lana



To achieve malaria elimination, it is important to determine the role of human mobility in parasite transmission maintenance. The Alto Juruá basin (Brazil) exhibits one of the largest vivax and falciparum malaria prevalence in the Amazon. The goal of this study was to estimate the contribution of human commutes to malaria persistence in this region, using data from an origin-destination survey.

Data from an origin-destination survey were used to describe the intensity and motivation for commutations between rural and urban areas in two Alto Juruá basin (Brazil) municipalities, Mâncio Lima and Rodrigues Alves. The relative time-person spent in each locality per household was estimated. A logistic model was developed to estimate the effect of commuting on the probability of contracting malaria for a certain residence zone inhabitant commuting to another zone.

The main results suggest that the assessed population is not very mobile. A total of 96% households reported spending over 90% of their annual person-hour in areas within the same residence zone. Study and work were the most prevalent commuting motivations, calculated at 40.5% and 29.5% respectively. Spending person-hours in urban Rodrigues Alves conferred relative protection to urban Mâncio Lima residents. The opposite effect was observed for those spending time in rural areas of both municipalities.

Residence area is a stronger determinant for contracting malaria than commuting zones in the Alto Juruá region. As these municipalities are a hotspot for Plasmodium transmission, understanding the main local human fluxes is essential for planning control strategies, since the probability of contracting malaria is dependent on the transmission intensity of both the origin and the displacement area. The natural conditions for the circulation of certain pathogens, such as Plasmodium spp., combined with the Amazon human mobility pattern indicate the need for disease control perspective changes. Therefore, intersectoral public policies should become the basis for health mitigation actions.

Read the article in Malaria Journal.

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