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Journal of Tropical Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 595948, 6 pages
Research Article

A Vectorial Capacity Product to Monitor Changing Malaria Transmission Potential in Epidemic Regions of Africa

1The International Research Institute for Climate and Society, The Earth Institute, Columbia University, Lamont Campus, 61 Route 9W, Monell Building, Palisades, NY 10964-8000, USA
2U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center, Sioux Falls, SD 57198, USA
3School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3BX, UK

Received 21 June 2011; Revised 6 October 2011; Accepted 18 October 2011

Academic Editor: Aditya Prasad Dash

Copyright © 2012 Pietro Ceccato et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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.