Ceccato, P., C. Vancutsem, R. Klaver, J. Rowland, and S.J. Connor. 2012. A vectorial capacity product to monitor changing malaria transmission potential in epidemic regions of Africa. Journal of Tropical Medicine 2012:1-6.
Rainfall and temperature are two of the major factors triggering malaria epidemics in warm semi-arid (desert-fringe) and high altitude (highland-fringe) epidemic risk areas. The ability of the mosquitoes to transmit Plasmodium spp. is dependent upon a series of biological features generally referred to as vectorial capacity. In this study, the vectorial capacity model (VCAP) was expanded to include the influence of rainfall and temperature variables on malaria transmission potential. Data from two remote sensing products were used to monitor rainfall and temperature and were integrated into the VCAP model. The expanded model was tested in Eritrea and Madagascar to check the viability of the approach. The analysis of VCAP in relation to rainfall, temperature and malaria incidence data in these regions shows that the expanded VCAP correctly tracks the risk of malaria both in regions where rainfall is the limiting factor and in regions where temperature is the limiting factor. The VCAP maps are currently offered as an experimental resource for testing within Malaria Early Warning applications in epidemic prone regions of sub-Saharan Africa. User feedback is currently being collected in preparation for further evaluation and refinement of the VCAP model.