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Open Access Research

Early warnings of the potential for malaria transmission in rural Africa using the hydrology, entomology and malaria transmission simulator (HYDREMATS)

Teresa K Yamana* and Elfatih AB Eltahir

Author Affiliations

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

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Malaria Journal 2010, 9:323  doi:10.1186/1475-2875-9-323

Published: 12 November 2010

Abstract

Background

Early warnings of malaria transmission allow health officials to better prepare for future epidemics. Monitoring rainfall is recognized as an important part of malaria early warning systems. The Hydrology, Entomology and Malaria Simulator (HYDREMATS) is a mechanistic model that relates rainfall to malaria transmission, and could be used to provide early warnings of malaria epidemics.

Methods

HYDREMATS is used to make predictions of mosquito populations and vectorial capacity for 2005, 2006, and 2007 in Banizoumbou village in western Niger. HYDREMATS is forced by observed rainfall, followed by a rainfall prediction based on the seasonal mean rainfall for a period two or four weeks into the future.

Results

Predictions made using this method provided reasonable estimates of mosquito populations and vectorial capacity, two to four weeks in advance. The predictions were significantly improved compared to those made when HYDREMATS was forced with seasonal mean rainfall alone.

Conclusions

HYDREMATS can be used to make reasonable predictions of mosquito populations and vectorial capacity, and provide early warnings of the potential for malaria epidemics in Africa.