GIS used to map past and predicted malaria outbreak hotspots

A Geographic Information System (GIS)-driven digital map of past and predicted malaria outbreak hotspots has been used in India as part of a national control program.

Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access International Journal of Health Geographics describe the creation of the GIS and its implementation in the malaria-stricken Madhya Pradesh region.

Aruna Srivastava and her team from India's National Institute of Malaria Research worked with colleagues from the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme and the State Health Department to use GIS to pinpoint trouble spots for timely preventive action. She said, "This is the first time that GIS has been used in a national control program for tribal malaria. The system identifies hotspots from which malaria flares up every time conditions favourable for transmission occur".

After implementation of hotspot management based on the GIS system, parasitological data showed that 96042 malaria cases in 2006 reduced to 90829 in 2007. This work continued in 2008 and the authors say results were good. According to Srivastava, "GIS can dynamically map malaria hot spots and also point out the geographic locations of hot pockets within to carry out accelerated focused malaria control. The main advantage of the GIS platform is fast data updating - as soon as data is entered, revised maps highlight the trouble spots".

Full bibliographic information1. Identification of malaria hot spots for focused intervention in tribal state of India: a GIS-based approach
Aruna Srivastava, B. N. Nagpal, P. L. Joshi, J. C. Paliwal and A. P. Dash
International Journal of Health Geographics (in press)

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