Malaria and GIS

1 Mar 2001
While on the way to California it occurred to me that Malaria would make a very worthwhile case study for Global Stewardship. Here's an extract from my notes:
Geographies [spatial and temporal] of Malaria: a type case of relations between humans and other organisms
?what's the history of understanding malaria?
?what were the big steps?
?what means to control (viz: draining the Pontine Marshes)
?drugs? other interventions [DDT, etc] and implications/effects?
?what does malaria DO in populations where it's endemic? And what happened (demographically) where malaria was 'controlled'?
The Big Question this example asks: ?what must be taken into account if one is going to intervene in natural systems?
How do we find the history of geographies of malaria, and how do we deal with the complexity once found? Need to factor in subsequent medical knowledge...
At Stanford I happened upon Robert Desowitz' The Malaria Capers : More Tales of Parasites and People, Research and Reality, which answers a number of the above questions very well. And here's a troll in Annie for books.

Meredith Williams mentioned some work she had done on malaria GIS in Zimbabwe with Jessica Hartman (an Earth Systems student at Stanford)

...and here's some of what I found today:

 It appears that there are plentiful Web resources for this subject. Here are a few from the early harvest:

Malaria GIS in South Africa

GIS-based Malaria Surveillance System (India)

Malaria and GIS links from U. Washington

On Epidemiology and Geographic Information Systems: A Review and Discussion of Future Directions (Keith C. Clarke, Ph.D., Sara L. McLafferty, Ph.D,. and Barbara J. Tempalski, from Emerging Infectious Diseases Volume 2 * Number 2 April-June 1996)

Geographic Information Systems for the Study and Control of Malaria (Gustavo Brêtas)

Malaria Information for Travelers to Southeast Asia from CDC

(many more via and some 'geography of malaria' sites

'malaria and GIS' from PubMed

...and JSTOR has 281 hits for 'malaria' in the Population journals, and 209 in Anthropology journals, and 367 in Ecology journals, and 80 in Economics journals, and 2147 in General Science journals, and 216 in History journals, and 78 in African American Studies journals and 72 in Asian Studies journals, and 97 in Sociology journals, and 92 in Statistics journals, and even 2 in Mathematics journals (one from SIAM Review, an ecologist citing the Borneo DDT and cats story...)... simply an AMAZING potential resource.

2 Mar
The more I explore the resources of this Subject, the clearer it is that this is a superb example of what we're trying to do with the Global Stewardship Program --to reach across the boundaries between disciplines to consider really important questions that have truly global significance. Continuing to explore:

Sitemap of Sarawak State Health Department's webpages

Environmental Health Project Malaria Bulletin (USAID)

7529 references in SciFinder Scholar (limiting to CA --MANY thousands more in Medline, of course); and 3531 for 'malaria and vaccine' (1 in 1958, 52 in 1983, 183 in 1988, 269 in 2000...). I sorted by 'document type' to find 2010 articles, 109 clinical trials, 72 conferences, 13 congresses, 637 general reviews, 21 'historical', 303 patents, about 1000 'review' of various types (333 'review tutorial')

Malaria: current and future prospects for control. Collins F H; Paskewitz S M Division of Parasitic Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chamblee, Georgia 30341. ANNUAL REVIEW OF ENTOMOLOGY (1995), 40195-219. Ref: 126. Journal code: 6DN. ISSN:0066-4170. United States Journal; Article; (JOURNAL ARTICLE); General Review; (REVIEW); (REVIEW, ACADEMIC) written in English. AN 95110032 MEDLINE


Malaria is the most important insect-transmitted human disease, but progress in its control has been slow, especially in Africa where approximately 90% of the infections occur. Several factors have contributed to the problem. Parasites and vectors have developed resistance to antimalarial drugs and insecticides; differences in the biology of major malaria vectors preclude the development of simple, universally applicable strategies for malaria control; and the cost of available malaria-control tools often exceeds the public health resources in the most malarious parts of the world. New tools are desperately needed. Current efforts include the testing of tools such as insecticide-impregnated bed nets that could become available in the near term, as well as long-term projects such as the development of malaria vaccines and mosquito-targeted genetic control strategies. The success or failure of any of these approaches will depend ultimately on understanding the natural patterns of malaria transmission in the field.

Mosquito immune responses and malaria transmission: lessons from insect model systems and implications for vertebrate innate immunity and vaccine development. Barillas-Mury C; Wizel B; Han Y S Department of Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA. INSECT BIOCHEMISTRY AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY (2000 Jun), 30(6), 429-42. Ref: 124. Journal code: BRE. ISSN:0965-1748. ENGLAND: United Kingdom Journal; Article; (JOURNAL ARTICLE); General Review; (REVIEW); (REVIEW, ACADEMIC) written in English. AN 2000425257 MEDLINE


The introduction of novel biochemical, genetic, molecular and cell biology tools to the study of insect immunity has generated an information explosion in recent years. Due to the biodiversity of insects, complementary model systems have been developed. The conceptual framework built based on these systems is used to discuss our current understanding of mosquito immune responses and their implications for malaria transmission. The areas of insect and vertebrate innate immunity are merging as new information confirms the remarkable extent of the evolutionary conservation, at a molecular level, in the signaling pathways mediating these responses in such distant species. Our current understanding of the molecular language that allows the vertebrate innate immune system to identify parasites, such as malaria, and direct the acquired immune system to mount a protective immune response is very limited. Insect vectors of parasitic diseases, such as mosquitoes, could represent excellent models to understand the molecular responses of epithelial cells to parasite invasion. This information could broaden our understanding of vertebrate responses to parasitic infection and could have extensive implications for anti-malarial vaccine development.

The conserved genome organisation of non-falciparum malaria species: the need to know more. van Lin L H; Janse C J; Waters A P Department of Parasitology, Leiden University Medical Centre, P.O. Box 9600, 2300 RC, Leiden, The Netherlands INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL FOR PARASITOLOGY (2000 Apr 10), 30(4), 357-70. Ref: 110. Journal code: GSB. ISSN:0020-7519. ENGLAND: United Kingdom Journal; Article; (JOURNAL ARTICLE); General Review; (REVIEW); (REVIEW, ACADEMIC) written in English. AN 2000198183 MEDLINE


The current knowledge on genomes of non-falciparum malaria species and the potential of model malaria parasites for functional analyses are reviewed and compared with those of the most pathogenic human parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. There are remarkable similarities in overall genome composition among the different species at the level of chromosome organisation and chromosome number, conserved order of individual genes, and even conserved functions of specific gene domains and regulatory control elements. With the initiative taken to sequence the genome of P. falciparum, a wealth of information is already becoming available to the scientific community. In order to exploit the biological information content of a complete genome sequence, simple storage of the bulk of sequence data will be inadequate. The requirement for functional analyses to determine the biological role of the open reading frames is commonly accepted and knowledge of the genomes of the animal model malaria species will facilitate these analyses. Detailed comparative genome information and sequencing of additional Plasmodium genomes will provide a deeper insight into the evolutionary history of the species, the biology of the parasite, and its interactions with the mammalian host and mosquito vector. Therefore, an extended and integrated approach will enhance our knowledge of malaria and will ultimately lead to a more rational approach that identifies and evaluates new targets for anti-malarial drug and vaccine development.

The Malaria genome Sequencing Project Daniel Carucci et al. 1998, from Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine


5 March
Science offers 106 hits for 'malaria' (1996-).
See, for example,  The Global Spread of Malaria in a Future, Warmer World (David J. Rogers and Sarah E. Randolph, Science 2000 289: 2283-2284. [in Letters]). Here's a map from the article :

Web of Science 'malaria and global' yields 125 hits

"As recently as 40 years ago, only 10% of the world's
population was at risk from malaria. Today, over 40% of the world's population is at risk" (from "Heme aggregation inhibitors: Antimalarial drugs targeting an essential biomineralization process" Ziegler J, Linck R, Wright DW
                                               CURRENT MEDICINAL CHEMISTRY
                                                       8 (2): 171-189 FEB 2001
And a set from Web of Science: 'malaria and global' (this is just the first 29, to give an idea of what's going on right now)

I Kleinschmidt, M Bagayoko, GPY Clarke, M Craig, and D Le Sueur
     A spatial statistical approach to malaria mapping
     Int. J. Epidemiol. 2000 29: 355-361

JA Schellenberg, JN Newell, RW Snow, V Mung'ala, K Marsh, PG Smith, and RJ Hayes
     An analysis of the geographical distribution of severe malaria in children in Kilifi District, Kenya
     Int. J. Epidemiol. 1998 27: 323-329

6 March
 Zheng et al. Quantitative Trait Loci for Refractoriness of Anopheles gambiae to Plasmodium cynomolgi B (Science Volume 276, Number 5311, Issue of 18 Apr 1997, pp. 425-428)

The severity of the malaria pandemic in the tropics is aggravated by the ongoing spread of parasite resistance to antimalarial drugs and
 mosquito resistance to insecticides. A strain of Anopheles gambiae, normally a major vector for human malaria in Africa, can
 encapsulate and kill the malaria parasites within a melanin-rich capsule in the mosquito midgut. Genetic mapping revealed one major and
 two minor quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for this encapsulation reaction. Understanding such antiparasite mechanisms in mosquitoes may
 lead to new strategies for malaria control.
 Balter Gene Sequencers Target Malaria Mosquito (Science Volume 285, Number 5427, Issue of 23 Jul 1999, pp. 508-509)

 Enserink MOSQUITO ENGINEERING: Building a Disease-Fighting Mosquito (Science Volume 290, Number 5491, Issue of 20 Oct 2000, pp. 440-441)

And a digression on West Nile Virus is also available...
...And serendipity finds a  Dr. John Snow site (he of the Broad Street Pump), among  a list of GIS links I'll be glad to be able to find again (from the Association for Geographic Information, mostly UK-oriented). See also  Ultimate Map/GIS Directory .

The CDC has a publication called  Public Health GIS News and Information monthly newsletter.

A list of links to  Mosquito and Vector Control Agencies

15 March
 PubMed search for 'remote sensing and malaria'

24 July
Malaria's beginnings from Science