Prof Bob W Snow

Research Area: Global Health
Technology Exchange: Computational biology
Scientific Themes: Tropical Medicine & Global Health
Keywords: GIS, malaria, public health and mapping
Web Links:

Bob has worked in Africa since 1984. He is Professor of Tropical Public Health at the Centre for Tropical Medicine, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford and Chairman of the Malaria Public Health Department of the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust - University of Oxford Collaborative Programme in Kenya.

Bob's work began with the first African clinical trials of Insecticide-treated bed nets (ITN) between 1985-1987 at the UK's Medical Research Council labs at Farafenni, The Gambia. His interest in the role ITN play in child survival and the need for equitable access has continued for over 25 years, ensuring that a body of science drives national and international policy to guarantee that these interventions reach the most biologically and economically vulnerable communities free of charge across Africa.  

Bob's research interests are founded in trying to understand the complex epidemiology of malaria parasite exposure, clinical disease outcomes and optimized, targeted approaches to reducing the malaria burden in Africa. In January 1989, Bob moved to Kilifi, on the Kenyan coast, to establish epidemiological studies in an area surrounding the rural district hospital. Over the last 25 years, this programme has grown into a multidisciplinary internationally recognized centre of research excellence. In 1996, Bob moved to Nairobi to expand the Oxford-Kenyan programme, investigating the epidemiology of severe malaria and malaria mortality across the region, including the establishment of the Pan-African collaboration known as the Mapping Malaria Risk in Africa (MARA/ARMA) collaboration with partners at the MRC in South Africa. MARA served as a prelude to the Malaria Atlas Project (MAP), a global initiative, founded by Bob in 2005. From 2010, this project is co-directed from Kenya with Dr Abdisalan Mohamed Noor, supporting a more effective way of working directly with national, malaria endemic country partners and governments across the African continent and the Arabian Peninsula.

As chairman of various national malaria control programme workshops he continues to promote the value of science in malaria policy development across the region. Working through various international agencies, Bob has been able to maintain a strategic, evidence-based argument for a continued focus on malaria control and disease reduction in Africa and sustain a focus of attention on financing control in poor, high burden countries across the continent. He provided keynote addresses at to the UK's All-Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases in 2010, the 19th Roll Back Malaria Partnership Board meeting in Lusaka in 2010 and presentations on the need for effective use of evidence to prioritize control and elimination ambitions to ministers of health and various health departments in Kenya, Swaziland, Namibia, Djibouti, Mali, Uganda, Zanzibar, The Gambia, Ethiopia, Nigeria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia between 2007-2013. The research from the Malaria Public Health Department has provided the evidence to articulate a science-driven realistic malaria policy to those charged with setting agenda's internationally and nationally and has incrementally improved the use of this research to guide priorities in malaria control. 

Bob is committed to developing science capacity and the research-to-policy agenda in Africa. He has supervised 16 post-graduates through their doctoral programmes, seven masters students and has supported five post-doctoral fellows. Bob supports the Kenyan Programme's director, and long time colleague since they worked together in The Gambia, Professor Kevin Marsh, in the evolution and future strategic direction of the wider Kenyan-Oxford programme through to 2020. 

Bob has published over 380 articles on malaria with an h-index of over 80 from 22,400 life-time citations. In 2009 he was ranked joint 3rd highest malaria citation author as part of the Wellcome Trust 10 year review and the 5th most cited EU malaria scientist between 1997 and 2007

Bob is a technical advisor to the Kenyan Government. Among other international advisory panels he is a committed advisory board member of the UKs Malaria No More and the Against Malaria Foundation, that was recently voted best charity by the independent auditor, GiveWell. He is supported by the Wellcome Trust (UK) as a Principal Fellow and was made a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2008.

Name Department Institution Country
Prof Simon Brooker London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine United Kingdom
Prof Mike English Tropical Medicine University of Oxford United Kingdom
Dr Catherine Goodman London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine United Kingdom
Dr Bruce Larsen Boston University, Center for International Health United States
Dr Hoda Atta WHO-EMRO,Malaria Control & Elimination Egypt
Dr Ghasem Zamani WHO-EMRO, Malaria Control & Elimination Egypt
Dr Yazome Ye ICF Measure Programme United States
Dr Catherine Linard L'Université libre de Bruxelles Belgium
Prof Caroline Buckee Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, Epidemiology Harvard School of Public Health United States
Prof Feiko ter Kuile Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine United Kingdom
Dr Socé Fall RBM-AFRO Congo - Brazzaville
Prof Umberto D’Alessandro Medical Research Council Gambia
Richard Kamwi Ministry of Health & Social Welfare Namibia
Dr Lawrence Kazembe Department of Statistics University of Namibia Namibia
Dr Jamal Amran WHO-EMRO, Malaria Control & Elimination Somalia
Prof Ibrahim El Hassan University of Jazan Saudi Arabia
Dr Khalid ElMardi National Vector Borne Disease Programme Sudan
Prof Mukhtar Maowia Institute of Endemic Diseases University of Khartoum Sudan
Prof David Hamer Zambia Center for Applied Health Research & Development Zambia
Dr Alex Rowe Centers for Disease Control United States
Dr Abdinasir Amin ICF Measure Programme United States
Dr Clara Burgert ICF Measure Programme United States
Prof Kevin Marsh Tropical Medicine University of Oxford United Kingdom

Snow RW. 2014. Sixty years trying to define the malaria burden in Africa: have we made any progress? BMC Med, 12 (1), pp. 227. Read abstract | Read more

Controversy surrounds the precise numbers of malaria deaths and clinical episodes in Africa. This would not have surprised malariologists working in Africa 60 years ago as they began to unravel the enigma that is 'malaria'. Malaria is a complex disease manifesting as a multitude of symptoms, degrees of severity and indirect morbid consequences. Clinical immunity develops quickly and the presence of infection cannot always be used to distinguish between malaria and other illnesses. During the 1950s and 1960s parasite prevalence was used in preference to statistics on malaria mortality and morbidity. An argument is made for a resurrection of this measure of the quantity of malaria across Africa as a more reliable means to understand the impact of control. Hide abstract

Noor AM, Noor AM, Kinyoki DK, Mundia CW, Kabaria CW, Mutua JW, Alegana VA, Fall IS, Snow RW, Snow RW. 2014. The changing risk of Plasmodium falciparum malaria infection in Africa: 2000-10: A spatial and temporal analysis of transmission intensity The Lancet, 383 (9930), pp. 1739-1747. Read abstract | Read more

Background Over a decade ago, the Roll Back Malaria Partnership was launched, and since then there has been unprecedented investment in malaria control. We examined the change in malaria transmission intensity during the period 2000-10 in Africa. Methods We assembled a geocoded and community Plasmodium falciparum parasite rate standardised to the age group 2-10 years (PfPR2-10) database from across 49 endemic countries and territories in Africa from surveys undertaken since 1980. The data were used within a Bayesian space-time geostatistical framework to predict PfPR2-10 in 2000 and 2010 at a 1 × 1 km spatial resolution. Population distribution maps at the same spatial resolution were used to compute populations at risk by endemicity class and estimate population-adjusted PfPR2-10 (PAPfPR2-10) for each of the 44 countries for which predictions were possible for each year. Findings Between 2000 and 2010, the population in hyperendemic (>50% to 75% PfPR2-10) or holoendemic (>75% PfPR2-10) areas decreased from 218·6 million (34·4%) of 635·7 million to 183·5 million (22·5%) of 815·7 million across 44 malaria-endemic countries. 280·1 million (34·3%) people lived in areas of mesoendemic transmission (>10% to 50% PfPR 2-10) in 2010 compared with 178·6 million (28·1%) in 2000. Population in areas of unstable or very low transmission (<5% PfPR 2-10) increased from 131·7 million people (20·7%) in 2000 to 219·0 million (26·8%) in 2010. An estimated 217·6 million people, or 26·7% of the 2010 population, lived in areas where transmission had reduced by at least one PfPR2-10 endemicity class. 40 countries showed a reduction in national mean PAPfPR2-10. Only ten countries contributed 87·1% of the population living in areas of hyperendemic or holoendemic transmission in 2010. Interpretation Substantial reductions in malaria transmission have been achieved in endemic countries in Africa over the period 2000-10. However, 57% of the population in 2010 continued to live in areas where transmission remains moderate to intense and global support to sustain and accelerate the reduction of transmission must remain a priority. Funding Wellcome Trust. Copyright © Noor et al. Hide abstract

Zurovac D, Githinji S, Memusi D, Kigen S, Machini B, Muturi A, Otieno G, Snow RW, Nyandigisi A. 2014. Major improvements in the quality of malaria case-management under the "test and treat" policy in Kenya. PLoS One, 9 (3), pp. e92782. Read abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Monitoring implementation of the "test and treat" case-management policy for malaria is an important component of all malaria control programmes in Africa. Unfortunately, routine information systems are commonly deficient to provide necessary information. Using health facility surveys we monitored health systems readiness and malaria case-management practices prior to and following implementation of the 2010 "test and treat" policy in Kenya. METHODS/FINDINGS: Between 2010 and 2013 six national, cross-sectional, health facility surveys were undertaken. The number of facilities assessed ranged between 172 and 176, health workers interviewed between 216 and 237 and outpatient consultations for febrile patients evaluated between 1,208 and 2,408 across six surveys. Comparing baseline and the last survey results, all readiness indicators showed significant (p<0.005) improvements: availability of parasitological diagnosis (55.2% to 90.7%); RDT availability (7.5% to 69.8%); total artemether-lumefantrine (AL) stock-out (27.2% to 7.0%); stock-out of one or more AL packs (59.5% to 21.6%); training coverage (0 to 50.2%); guidelines access (0 to 58.1%) and supervision (17.9% to 30.8%). Testing increased by 34.0% (23.9% to 57.9%; p<0.001) while testing and treatment according to test result increased by 34.2% (15.7% to 49.9%; p<0.001). Treatment adherence for test positive patients improved from 83.3% to 90.3% (p = 0.138) and for test negative patients from 47.9% to 83.4% (p<0.001). Significant testing and treatment improvements were observed in children and adults. There was no difference in practices with respect to the type and result of malaria test (RDT vs microscopy). Of eight dosing, dispensing and counseling tasks, improvements were observed for four tasks. Overall AL use for febrile patients decreased from 63.5% to 35.6% (p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Major improvements in the implementation of "test and treat" policy were observed in Kenya. Some gaps towards universal targets still remained. Other countries facing similar needs and challenges may consider health facility surveys to monitor malaria case-management. Hide abstract

Noor AM, Uusiku P, Kamwi RN, Katokele S, Ntomwa B, Alegana VA, Snow RW. 2013. The receptive versus current risks of Plasmodium falciparum transmission in northern Namibia: implications for elimination. BMC Infect Dis, 13 (1), pp. 184. Read abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Countries aiming for malaria elimination need to define their malariogenic potential, of which measures of both receptive and current transmission are major components. As Namibia pursues malaria elimination, the importation risks due to cross-border human population movements with higher risk neighboring countries has been identified as a major challenge. Here we used historical and contemporary Plasmodium falciparum prevalence data for Namibia to estimate receptive and current levels of malaria risk in nine northern regions. We explore the potential of these risk maps to support decision-making for malaria elimination in Namibia. METHODS: Age-corrected geocoded community P. falciparum rate PfPR2-10 data from the period 1967-1992 (n = 3,260) and 2009 (n = 120) were modeled separately within a Bayesian model-based geostatistical (MBG) framework. A full Bayesian space-time MBG model was implemented using the 1967-1992 data to make predictions for every five years from 1969 to 1989. These maps were used to compute the maximum mean PfPR2-10 at 5 x 5 km locations in the northern regions of Namibia to estimate receptivity. A separate spatial Bayesian MBG was fitted to the 2009 data to predict current risk of malaria at similar spatial resolution. Using a high-resolution population map for Namibia, population at risk by receptive and current endemicity by region and population adjusted PfPR2-10 by health district were computed. Validations of predictions were undertaken separately for the historical and current risk models. RESULTS: Highest receptive risks were observed in the northern regions of Caprivi, Kavango and Ohangwena along the border with Angola and Zambia. Relative to the receptive risks, over 90% of the 1.4 million people across the nine regions of northern Namibia appear to have transitioned to a lower endemic class by 2009. The biggest transition appeared to have occurred in areas of highest receptive risks. Of the 23 health districts, 12 had receptive PAPfPR2-10 risks of 5% to 18% and accounted for 57% of the population in the north. Current PAPfPR2-10 risks was largely <5% across the study area. CONCLUSIONS: The comparison of receptive and current malaria risks in the northern regions of Namibia show health districts that are most at risk of importation due to their proximity to the relatively higher transmission northern neighbouring countries, higher population and modeled receptivity. These health districts should be prioritized as the cross-border control initiatives are rolled out. Hide abstract

Noor AM, Alegana VA, Kamwi RN, Hansford CF, Ntomwa B, Katokele S, Snow RW. 2013. Malaria control and the intensity of Plasmodium falciparum transmission in Namibia 1969-1992. PLoS One, 8 (5), pp. e63350. Read abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Historical evidence of the levels of intervention scale up and its relationships to changing malaria risks provides important contextual information for current ambitions to eliminate malaria in various regions of Africa today. METHODS: Community-based Plasmodium falciparum prevalence data from 3,260 geo-coded time-space locations between 1969 and 1992 were assembled from archives covering an examination of 230,174 individuals located in northern Namibia. These data were standardized the age-range 2 to less than 10 years and used within a Bayesian model-based geo-statistical framework to examine the changes of malaria risk in the years 1969, 1974, 1979, 1984 and 1989 at 5×5 km spatial resolution. This changing risk was described against rainfall seasons and the wide-scale use of indoor-residual house-spraying and mass drug administration. RESULTS: Most areas of Northern Namibia experienced low intensity transmission during a ten-year period of wide-scale control activities between 1969 and 1979. As control efforts waned, flooding occurred, drug resistance emerged and the war for independence intensified the spatial extent of moderate-to-high malaria transmission expanded reaching a peak in the late 1980s. CONCLUSIONS: Targeting vectors and parasite in northern Namibia was likely to have successfully sustained a situation of low intensity transmission, but unraveled quickly to a peak of transmission intensity following a sequence of events by the early 1990s. Hide abstract

Snow RW, Amratia P, Zamani G, Mundia CW, Noor AM, Memish ZA, Al Zahrani MH, Al Jasari A, Fikri M, Atta H. 2013. The malaria transition on the Arabian Peninsula: progress toward a malaria-free region between 1960-2010. Adv Parasitol, 82 pp. 205-251. Read abstract | Read more

The transmission of malaria across the Arabian Peninsula is governed by the diversity of dominant vectors and extreme aridity. It is likely that where malaria transmission was historically possible it was intense and led to a high disease burden. Here, we review the speed of elimination, approaches taken, define the shrinking map of risk since 1960 and discuss the threats posed to a malaria-free Arabian Peninsula using the archive material, case data and published works. From as early as the 1940s, attempts were made to eliminate malaria on the peninsula but were met with varying degrees of success through to the 1970s; however, these did result in a shrinking of the margins of malaria transmission across the peninsula. Epidemics in the 1990s galvanised national malaria control programmes to reinvigorate control efforts. Before the launch of the recent global ambition for malaria eradication, countries on the Arabian Peninsula launched a collaborative malaria-free initiative in 2005. This initiative led a further shrinking of the malaria risk map and today locally acquired clinical cases of malaria are reported only in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, with the latter contributing to over 98% of the clinical burden. Hide abstract

Talisuna AO, Karema C, Ogutu B, Juma E, Logedi J, Nyandigisi A, Mulenga M, Mbacham WF et al. 2012. Mitigating the threat of artemisinin resistance in Africa: improvement of drug-resistance surveillance and response systems. Lancet Infect Dis, 12 (11), pp. 888-896. Read abstract | Read more

Artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria has emerged in western Cambodia and has been detected in western Thailand. The situation is ominously reminiscent of the emergence of resistance to chloroquine and to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine several decades ago. Artemisinin resistance is a major threat to global public health, with the most severe potential effects in sub-Saharan Africa, where the disease burden is highest and systems for monitoring and containment of resistance are inadequate. The mechanisms that underlie artemisinin resistance are not fully understood. The main phenotypic trait associated with resistance is a substantial delay in parasite clearance, so far reported in southeast Asia but not in Africa. One of the pillars of the WHO global plan for artemisinin resistance containment is to increase monitoring and surveillance. In this Personal View, we propose strategies that should be adopted by malaria-endemic countries in Africa: resource mobilisation to reactivate regional surveillance networks, establishment of baseline parasite clearance profiles to serve as benchmarks to track emerging artemisinin resistance, improved data sharing to allow pooled analyses to identify rare events, modelling of risk factors for drug resistance, and development and validation of new approaches to monitor resistance. Hide abstract

Noor AM, ElMardi KA, Abdelgader TM, Patil AP, Amine AA, Bakhiet S, Mukhtar MM, Snow RW. 2012. Malaria risk mapping for control in the republic of Sudan. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 87 (6), pp. 1012-1021. Read abstract | Read more

Evidence shows that malaria risk maps are rarely tailored to address national control program ambitions. Here, we generate a malaria risk map adapted for malaria control in Sudan. Community Plasmodium falciparum parasite rate (PfPR) data from 2000 to 2010 were assembled and were standardized to 2-10 years of age (PfPR(2-10)). Space-time Bayesian geostatistical methods were used to generate a map of malaria risk for 2010. Surfaces of aridity, urbanization, irrigation schemes, and refugee camps were combined with the PfPR(2-10) map to tailor the epidemiological stratification for appropriate intervention design. In 2010, a majority of the geographical area of the Sudan had risk of < 1% PfPR(2-10). Areas of meso- and hyperendemic risk were located in the south. About 80% of Sudan's population in 2011 was in the areas in the desert, urban centers, or where risk was < 1% PfPR(2-10). Aggregated data suggest reducing risks in some high transmission areas since the 1960s. Hide abstract

Zurovac D, Talisuna AO, Snow RW. 2012. Mobile phone text messaging: tool for malaria control in Africa. PLoS Med, 9 (2), pp. e1001176. | Read more

Noor AM, Alegana VA, Patil AP, Moloney G, Borle M, Yusuf F, Amran J, Snow RW. 2012. Mapping the receptivity of malaria risk to plan the future of control in Somalia. BMJ Open, 2 (4), pp. e001160-e001160. Read abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: To measure the receptive risks of malaria in Somalia and compare decisions on intervention scale-up based on this map and the more widely used contemporary risk maps. DESIGN: Cross-sectional community Plasmodium falciparum parasite rate (PfPR) data for the period 2007-2010 corrected to a standard age range of 2 to <10 years (PfPR(2-10)) and used within a Bayesian space-time geostatistical framework to predict the contemporary (2010) mean PfPR(2-10) and the maximum annual mean PfPR(2-10) (receptive) from the highest predicted PfPR(2-10) value over the study period as an estimate of receptivity. SETTING: Randomly sampled communities in Somalia. PARTICIPANTS: Randomly sampled individuals of all ages. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Cartographic descriptions of malaria receptivity and contemporary risks in Somalia at the district level. RESULTS: The contemporary annual PfPR(2-10) map estimated that all districts (n=74) and population (n=8.4 million) in Somalia were under hypoendemic transmission (≤10% PfPR(2-10)). Of these, 23% of the districts, home to 13% of the population, were under transmission of <1% PfPR(2-10). About 58% of the districts and 55% of the population were in the risk class of 1% to <5% PfPR(2-10). In contrast, the receptivity map estimated 65% of the districts and 69% of the population were under mesoendemic transmission (>10%-50% PfPR(2-10)) and the rest as hypoendemic. CONCLUSION: Compared with maps of receptive risks, contemporary maps of transmission mask disparities of malaria risk necessary to prioritise and sustain future control. As malaria risk declines across Africa, efforts must be invested in measuring receptivity for efficient control planning. Hide abstract

Wesolowski A, Eagle N, Tatem AJ, Smith DL, Noor AM, Snow RW, Buckee CO. 2012. Quantifying the impact of human mobility on malaria. Science, 338 (6104), pp. 267-270. Read abstract | Read more

Human movements contribute to the transmission of malaria on spatial scales that exceed the limits of mosquito dispersal. Identifying the sources and sinks of imported infections due to human travel and locating high-risk sites of parasite importation could greatly improve malaria control programs. Here, we use spatially explicit mobile phone data and malaria prevalence information from Kenya to identify the dynamics of human carriers that drive parasite importation between regions. Our analysis identifies importation routes that contribute to malaria epidemiology on regional spatial scales. Hide abstract

Snow RW, Amratia P, Kabaria CW, Noor AM, Marsh K. 2012. The changing limits and incidence of malaria in Africa: 1939-2009. Adv Parasitol, 78 pp. 169-262. Read abstract | Read more

Understanding the historical, temporal changes of malaria risk following control efforts in Africa provides a unique insight into what has been and might be archived towards a long-term ambition of elimination on the continent. Here, we use archived published and unpublished material combined with biological constraints on transmission accompanied by a narrative on malaria control to document the changing incidence of malaria in Africa since earliest reports pre-second World War. One result is a more informed mapped definition of the changing margins of transmission in 1939, 1959, 1979, 1999 and 2009. Hide abstract

Zurovac D, Sudoi RK, Akhwale WS, Ndiritu M, Hamer DH, Rowe AK, Snow RW. 2011. The effect of mobile phone text-message reminders on Kenyan health workers' adherence to malaria treatment guidelines: a cluster randomised trial. Lancet, 378 (9793), pp. 795-803. Read abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Health workers' malaria case-management practices often differ from national guidelines. We assessed whether text-message reminders sent to health workers' mobile phones could improve and maintain their adherence to treatment guidelines for outpatient paediatric malaria in Kenya. METHODS: From March 6, 2009, to May 31, 2010, we did a cluster-randomised controlled trial at 107 rural health facilities in 11 districts in coastal and western Kenya. With a computer-generated sequence, health facilities were randomly allocated to either the intervention group, in which all health workers received text messages on their personal mobile phones on malaria case-management for 6 months, or the control group, in which health workers did not receive any text messages. Health workers were not masked to the intervention, although patients were unaware of whether they were in an intervention or control facility. The primary outcome was correct management with artemether-lumefantrine, defined as a dichotomous composite indicator of treatment, dispensing, and counselling tasks concordant with Kenyan national guidelines. The primary analysis was by intention to treat. The trial is registered with Current Controlled Trials, ISRCTN72328636. FINDINGS: 119 health workers received the intervention. Case-management practices were assessed for 2269 children who needed treatment (1157 in the intervention group and 1112 in the control group). Intention-to-treat analysis showed that correct artemether-lumefantrine management improved by 23·7 percentage-points (95% CI 7·6-40·0; p=0·004) immediately after intervention and by 24·5 percentage-points (8·1-41·0; p=0·003) 6 months later. INTERPRETATION: In resource-limited settings, malaria control programmes should consider use of text messaging to improve health workers' case-management practices. FUNDING: The Wellcome Trust. Hide abstract

Van Eijk AM, Van Eijk AM, Hill J, Alegana VA, Kirui V, Gething PW, ter Kuile FO, ter Kuile FO, Snow RW, Snow RW. 2011. Coverage of malaria protection in pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa: A synthesis and analysis of national survey data The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 11 (3), pp. 190-207. Read abstract | Read more

Background: Insecticide-treated nets and intermittent preventive treatment with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine are recommended for the control of malaria during pregnancy in endemic areas in Africa, but there has been no analysis of coverage data at a subnational level. We aimed to synthesise data from national surveys about these interventions, accounting for disparities in malaria risk within national borders. Methods: We extracted data for specific strategies for malaria control in pregnant women from national malaria policies from endemic countries in Africa. We identified the most recent national household cluster-sample surveys recording intermittent preventive treatment with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine and use of insecticide-treated nets. We reconciled data to subnational administrative units to construct a model to estimate the number of pregnant women covered by a recommended intervention in 2007. Findings: 45 (96%) of 47 countries surveyed had a policy for distribution of insecticide-treated nets for pregnant women; estimated coverage in 2007 was 4·7 million (17%) of 27·7 million pregnancies at risk of malaria in 32 countries with data. 39 (83%) of 47 countries surveyed had an intermittent preventive treatment policy; in 2007, an estimated 6·4 million (25%) of 25·6 million pregnant women received at least one dose of treatment and 19·8 million (77%) visited an antenatal clinic (31 countries). Estimated coverage was lowest in areas of high-intensity transmission of malaria. Interpretation: Despite success in a few countries, coverage of insecticide-treated nets and intermittent preventive treatment in pregnant African women is inadequate; increased efforts towards scale-up are needed. Funding: The Malaria in Pregnancy Consortium and Wellcome Trust. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Hide abstract

Snow RW, Okiro EA, Gething PW, Atun R, Hay SI. 2010. Equity and adequacy of international donor assistance for global malaria control: an analysis of populations at risk and external funding commitments. Lancet, 376 (9750), pp. 1409-1416. Read abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Financing for malaria control has increased as part of international commitments to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We aimed to identify the unmet financial needs that would be biologically and economically equitable and would increase the chances of reaching worldwide malaria-control ambitions. METHODS: Populations at risk of stable Plasmodium falciparum or Plasmodium vivax transmission were calculated for 2007 and 2009 for 93 malaria-endemic countries to measure biological need. National per-person gross domestic product (GDP) was used to define economic need. An analysis of external donor assistance for malaria control was done for the period 2002-09 to compute overall and annualised per-person at-risk-funding commitments. Annualised malaria donor assistance was compared with independent predictions of funding needed to reach international targets of 80% coverage of best practices in case-management and effective disease prevention. Countries were ranked in relation to biological, economic, and unmet needs to examine equity and adequacy of support by 2010. FINDINGS: International financing for malaria control has increased by 166% (from $0·73 billion to $1·94 billion) since 2007 and is broadly consistent with biological needs. African countries have become major recipients of external assistance; however, countries where P vivax continues to pose threats to control ambitions are not as well funded. 21 countries have reached adequate assistance to provide a comprehensive suite of interventions by 2009, including 12 countries in Africa. However, this assistance was inadequate for 50 countries representing 61% of the worldwide population at risk of malaria-including ten countries in Africa and five in Asia that coincidentally are some of the poorest countries. Approval of donor funding for malaria control does not correlate with GDP. INTERPRETATION: Funding for malaria control worldwide is 60% lower than the US$4·9 billion needed for comprehensive control in 2010; this includes funding shortfalls for a wide range of countries with different numbers of people at risk and different levels of domestic income. More efficient targeting of financial resources against biological need and national income should create a more equitable investment portfolio that with increased commitments will guarantee sustained financing of control in countries most at risk and least able to support themselves. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust. Hide abstract

Snow RW, Marsh K. 2010. Malaria in Africa: progress and prospects in the decade since the Abuja Declaration. Lancet, 376 (9735), pp. 137-139. | Read more

Feachem RGA, Phillips AA, Hwang J, Cotter C, Wielgosz B, Greenwood BM, Sabot O, Rodriguez MH, Abeyasinghe RR, Ghebreyesus TA, Snow RW. 2010. Shrinking the malaria map: progress and prospects The Lancet, 376 (9752), pp. 1566-1578. Read abstract | Read more

In the past 150 years, roughly half of the countries in the world eliminated malaria. Nowadays, there are 99 endemic countries - 67 are controlling malaria and 32 are pursuing an elimination strategy. This four-part Series presents evidence about the technical, operational, and financial dimensions of malaria elimination. The first paper in this Series reviews definitions of elimination and the state that precedes it: controlled low-endemic malaria. Feasibility assessments are described as a crucial step for a country transitioning from controlled low-endemic malaria to elimination. Characteristics of the 32 malaria-eliminating countries are presented, and contrasted with countries that pursued elimination in the past. Challenges and risks of elimination are presented, including Plasmodium vivax, resistance in the parasite and mosquito populations, and potential resurgence if investment and vigilance decrease. The benefits of elimination are outlined, specifically elimination as a regional and global public good. Priorities for the next decade are described. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Hide abstract

Hay SI, Guerra CA, Gething PW, Patil AP, Tatem AJ, Noor AM, Kabaria CW, Manh BH et al. 2009. A world malaria map: Plasmodium falciparum endemicity in 2007. PLoS Med, 6 (3), pp. e1000048. Read abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Efficient allocation of resources to intervene against malaria requires a detailed understanding of the contemporary spatial distribution of malaria risk. It is exactly 40 y since the last global map of malaria endemicity was published. This paper describes the generation of a new world map of Plasmodium falciparum malaria endemicity for the year 2007. METHODS AND FINDINGS: A total of 8,938 P. falciparum parasite rate (PfPR) surveys were identified using a variety of exhaustive search strategies. Of these, 7,953 passed strict data fidelity tests for inclusion into a global database of PfPR data, age-standardized to 2-10 y for endemicity mapping. A model-based geostatistical procedure was used to create a continuous surface of malaria endemicity within previously defined stable spatial limits of P. falciparum transmission. These procedures were implemented within a Bayesian statistical framework so that the uncertainty of these predictions could be evaluated robustly. The uncertainty was expressed as the probability of predicting correctly one of three endemicity classes; previously stratified to be an informative guide for malaria control. Population at risk estimates, adjusted for the transmission modifying effects of urbanization in Africa, were then derived with reference to human population surfaces in 2007. Of the 1.38 billion people at risk of stable P. falciparum malaria, 0.69 billion were found in Central and South East Asia (CSE Asia), 0.66 billion in Africa, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia (Africa+), and 0.04 billion in the Americas. All those exposed to stable risk in the Americas were in the lowest endemicity class (PfPR2-10 < or = 5%). The vast majority (88%) of those living under stable risk in CSE Asia were also in this low endemicity class; a small remainder (11%) were in the intermediate endemicity class (PfPR2-10 > 5 to < 40%); and the remaining fraction (1%) in high endemicity (PfPR2-10 > or = 40%) areas. High endemicity was widespread in the Africa+ region, where 0.35 billion people are at this level of risk. Most of the rest live at intermediate risk (0.20 billion), with a smaller number (0.11 billion) at low stable risk. CONCLUSIONS: High levels of P. falciparum malaria endemicity are common in Africa. Uniformly low endemic levels are found in the Americas. Low endemicity is also widespread in CSE Asia, but pockets of intermediate and very rarely high transmission remain. There are therefore significant opportunities for malaria control in Africa and for malaria elimination elsewhere. This 2007 global P. falciparum malaria endemicity map is the first of a series with which it will be possible to monitor and evaluate the progress of this intervention process. Hide abstract

Noor AM, Mutheu JJ, Tatem AJ, Hay SI, Snow RW. 2009. Insecticide-treated net coverage in Africa: mapping progress in 2000-07. Lancet, 373 (9657), pp. 58-67. Read abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Insecticide-treated bednets (ITNs) provide a means to improve child survival across Africa. Sales figures of these nets and survey coverage data presented nationally mask inequities in populations at biological and economic risk, and do not allow for precision in the estimation of unmet commodity needs. We gathered subnational ITN coverage sample survey data from 40 malaria-endemic countries in Africa between 2000 and 2007. METHODS: We computed the projected ITN coverage among children aged less than 5 years for age-adjusted population data that were stratified according to malaria transmission risks, proximate determinants of poverty, and methods of ITN delivery. FINDINGS: In 2000, only 1.7 million (1.8%) African children living in stable malaria-endemic conditions were protected by an ITN and the number increased to 20.3 million (18.5%) by 2007 leaving 89.6 million children unprotected. Of these, 30 million were living in some of the poorest areas of Africa: 54% were living in only seven countries and 25% in Nigeria alone. Overall, 33 (83%) countries were estimated to have ITN coverage of less than 40% in 2007. On average, we noted a greater increase in ITN coverage in areas where free distribution had operated between survey periods. INTERPRETATION: By mapping the distribution of populations in relation to malaria risk and intervention coverage, we provide a means to track the future requirements for scaling up essential disease-prevention strategies. The present coverage of ITN in Africa remains inadequate and a focused effort to improve distribution in selected areas would have a substantial effect on the continent's malaria burden. Hide abstract

Noor AM, Gething PW, Alegana VA, Patil AP, Hay SI, Muchiri E, Juma E, Snow RW. 2009. The risks of malaria infection in Kenya in 2009. BMC Infect Dis, 9 (1), pp. 180. Read abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: To design an effective strategy for the control of malaria requires a map of infection and disease risks to select appropriate suites of interventions. Advances in model based geo-statistics and malaria parasite prevalence data assemblies provide unique opportunities to redefine national Plasmodium falciparum risk distributions. Here we present a new map of malaria risk for Kenya in 2009. METHODS: Plasmodium falciparum parasite rate data were assembled from cross-sectional community based surveys undertaken from 1975 to 2009. Details recorded for each survey included the month and year of the survey, sample size, positivity and the age ranges of sampled population. Data were corrected to a standard age-range of two to less than 10 years (PfPR2-10) and each survey location was geo-positioned using national and on-line digital settlement maps. Ecological and climate covariates were matched to each PfPR2-10 survey location and examined separately and in combination for relationships to PfPR2-10. Significant covariates were then included in a Bayesian geostatistical spatial-temporal framework to predict continuous and categorical maps of mean PfPR2-10 at a 1 x 1 km resolution across Kenya for the year 2009. Model hold-out data were used to test the predictive accuracy of the mapped surfaces and distributions of the posterior uncertainty were mapped. RESULTS: A total of 2,682 estimates of PfPR2-10 from surveys undertaken at 2,095 sites between 1975 and 2009 were selected for inclusion in the geo-statistical modeling. The covariates selected for prediction were urbanization; maximum temperature; precipitation; enhanced vegetation index; and distance to main water bodies. The final Bayesian geo-statistical model had a high predictive accuracy with mean error of -0.15% PfPR2-10; mean absolute error of 0.38% PfPR2-10; and linear correlation between observed and predicted PfPR2-10 of 0.81. The majority of Kenya's 2009 population (35.2 million, 86.3%) reside in areas where predicted PfPR2-10 is less than 5%; conversely in 2009 only 4.3 million people (10.6%) lived in areas where PfPR2-10 was predicted to be > or =40% and were largely located around the shores of Lake Victoria. CONCLUSION: Model based geo-statistical methods can be used to interpolate malaria risks in Kenya with precision and our model shows that the majority of Kenyans live in areas of very low P. falciparum risk. As malaria interventions go to scale effectively tracking epidemiological changes of risk demands a rigorous effort to document infection prevalence in time and space to remodel risks and redefine intervention priorities over the next 10-15 years. Hide abstract

Snow RW, Guerra CA, Mutheu JJ, Hay SI. 2008. International funding for malaria control in relation to populations at risk of stable Plasmodium falciparum transmission. PLoS Med, 5 (7), pp. e142. Read abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The international financing of malaria control has increased significantly in the last ten years in parallel with calls to halve the malaria burden by the year 2015. The allocation of funds to countries should reflect the size of the populations at risk of infection, disease, and death. To examine this relationship, we compare an audit of international commitments with an objective assessment of national need: the population at risk of stable Plasmodium falciparum malaria transmission in 2007. METHODS AND FINDINGS: The national distributions of populations at risk of stable P. falciparum transmission were projected to the year 2007 for each of 87 P. falciparum-endemic countries. Systematic online- and literature-based searches were conducted to audit the international funding commitments made for malaria control by major donors between 2002 and 2007. These figures were used to generate annual malaria funding allocation (in US dollars) per capita population at risk of stable P. falciparum in 2007. Almost US$1 billion are distributed each year to the 1.4 billion people exposed to stable P. falciparum malaria risk. This is less than US$1 per person at risk per year. Forty percent of this total comes from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Substantial regional and national variations in disbursements exist. While the distribution of funds is found to be broadly appropriate, specific high population density countries receive disproportionately less support to scale up malaria control. Additionally, an inadequacy of current financial commitments by the international community was found: under-funding could be from 50% to 450%, depending on which global assessment of the cost required to scale up malaria control is adopted. CONCLUSIONS: Without further increases in funding and appropriate targeting of global malaria control investment it is unlikely that international goals to halve disease burdens by 2015 will be achieved. Moreover, the additional financing requirements to move from malaria control to malaria elimination have not yet been considered by the scientific or international community. Hide abstract

Snow RW, Guerra CA, Noor AM, Myint HY, Hay SI. 2005. The global distribution of clinical episodes of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Nature, 434 (7030), pp. 214-217. Read abstract | Read more

Interest in mapping the global distribution of malaria is motivated by a need to define populations at risk for appropriate resource allocation and to provide a robust framework for evaluating its global economic impact. Comparison of older and more recent malaria maps shows how the disease has been geographically restricted, but it remains entrenched in poor areas of the world with climates suitable for transmission. Here we provide an empirical approach to estimating the number of clinical events caused by Plasmodium falciparum worldwide, by using a combination of epidemiological, geographical and demographic data. We estimate that there were 515 (range 300-660) million episodes of clinical P. falciparum malaria in 2002. These global estimates are up to 50% higher than those reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and 200% higher for areas outside Africa, reflecting the WHO's reliance upon passive national reporting for these countries. Without an informed understanding of the cartography of malaria risk, the global extent of clinical disease caused by P. falciparum will continue to be underestimated. Hide abstract

Hay SI, Guerra CA, Tatem AJ, Noor AM, Snow RW. 2004. The global distribution and population at risk of malaria: past, present, and future. Lancet Infect Dis, 4 (6), pp. 327-336. Read abstract | Read more

The aim of this review was to use geographic information systems in combination with historical maps to quantify the anthropogenic impact on the distribution of malaria in the 20th century. The nature of the cartographic record enabled global and regional patterns in the spatial limits of malaria to be investigated at six intervals between 1900 and 2002. Contemporaneous population surfaces also allowed changes in the numbers of people living in areas of malaria risk to be quantified. These data showed that during the past century, despite human activities reducing by half the land area supporting malaria, demographic changes resulted in a 2 billion increase in the total population exposed to malaria risk. Furthermore, stratifying the present day malaria extent by endemicity class and examining regional differences highlighted that nearly 1 billion people are exposed to hypoendemic and mesoendemic malaria in southeast Asia. We further concluded that some distortion in estimates of the regional distribution of malaria burden could have resulted from different methods used to calculate burden in Africa. Crude estimates of the national prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum infection based on endemicity maps corroborate these assertions. Finally, population projections for 2010 were used to investigate the potential effect of future demographic changes. These indicated that although population growth will not substantially change the regional distribution of people at malaria risk, around 400 million births will occur within the boundary of current distribution of malaria by 2010: the date by which the Roll Back Malaria initiative is challenged to halve the world's malaria burden. Hide abstract

Snow RW, Eckert E, Teklehaimanot A. 2003. Estimating the needs for artesunate-based combination therapy for malaria case-management in Africa. Trends Parasitol, 19 (8), pp. 363-369. Read abstract | Read more

Because of inadequacies in national health information systems, the volumes of drugs required to support an effective policy transition toward artesunate-based combination therapy (ACT) are unknown for most African countries. A series of national surveys and population projections have been used to estimate the age-structured fever burden among 41 malaria endemic countries in Africa. Under present fever-management guidelines, commodity costs and internationally agreed coverage targets, the financial resources to meet the needs of ACT in most African countries are huge. Between US$1.6 billion and US$3.4 billion per annum must be found to give Africa the chance to consider a drug policy based on ACT. Substantial reductions in these costs would be achieved through more effective targeting of resources--only 20% of drugs would be required to manage fevers among the most at-risk pediatric patient populations. Better diagnostics would also be an important consideration for a new ACT policy in Africa. Hide abstract

Hay SI, Cox J, Rogers DJ, Randolph SE, Stern DI, Shanks GD, Myers MF, Snow RW. 2002. Climate change and the resurgence of malaria in the East African highlands. Nature, 415 (6874), pp. 905-909. Read abstract | Read more

The public health and economic consequences of Plasmodium falciparum malaria are once again regarded as priorities for global development. There has been much speculation on whether anthropogenic climate change is exacerbating the malaria problem, especially in areas of high altitude where P. falciparum transmission is limited by low temperature. The International Panel on Climate Change has concluded that there is likely to be a net extension in the distribution of malaria and an increase in incidence within this range. We investigated long-term meteorological trends in four high-altitude sites in East Africa, where increases in malaria have been reported in the past two decades. Here we show that temperature, rainfall, vapour pressure and the number of months suitable for P. falciparum transmission have not changed significantly during the past century or during the period of reported malaria resurgence. A high degree of temporal and spatial variation in the climate of East Africa suggests further that claimed associations between local malaria resurgences and regional changes in climate are overly simplistic. Hide abstract

Snow RW, Marsh K. 2002. The consequences of reducing transmission of Plasmodium falciparum in Africa. Adv Parasitol, 52 pp. 235-264. Read abstract | Read more

Malaria transmission intensity in Africa varies over several log orders, from less than one infected bite per year to more than one thousand. In this review we examine the consequences in terms of age pattern, clinical spectrum and overall burden of disease and discuss the possible implications for interventions that reduce exposure to infected bites. With very low transmission intensity, all age groups are susceptible to severe malaria. With increasing transmission intensities, older children and adults suffer less severe disease and with high transmission rates the majority of severe cases occur in infants under one year of age. This pattern reflects the increasingly rapid acquisition of immune responses that limit the life-threatening effects of malaria with increasing exposure to the parasite. The clinical spectrum of severe malaria varies with transmission: with high transmission, severe malarial anaemia dominates and cerebral malaria is rare. As one moves towards lower transmission rates, cerebral malaria accounts for an increasingly large proportion of cases. Although the population risk of severe disease falls with age, the risk of death at an individual level may rise with age after an initial fall from very high case fatality rates in children aged under 6 months. Of central interest to malaria control is how the overall amount of disease in childhood varies with transmission. Data from a number of sources suggest that, with low transmission, the amount of malarial disease rises with increasing exposure but that this saturates relatively early. A key issue is whether the same pattern obtains for deaths, both those directly due to malaria and those from all causes. The methodological limitations of ecological comparisons between different areas are discussed before presenting a review of attempts to use this approach in Africa. This suggests that children living in areas of low malarial endemicity have all-cause mortality rates about half of those of children living in areas of moderate to high transmission. Deaths in the first year of life rise linearly with increasing exposure to malaria over a wide range of transmission intensities; by contrast all-cause mortality in children aged 0-4 years appears to saturate at relatively low transmission intensities. These data suggest that interventions that reduce exposure to malaria parasites, such as insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs), will have the greatest chance of a sustained effect when used in areas where disease burdens are high but the frequency of parasite exposure is low-to-moderate. In conditions of high transmission, initial reductions in mortality may prove difficult to sustain as the reduced level of transmission may still lie on the part of the curve where mortality has saturated. However, at all levels of transmission the overall balance of benefits, including reduced load on families and health services from non-life-threatening malaria, favours the widespread introduction of ITNs in endemic areas of Africa. Hide abstract

Snow RW, Trape JF, Marsh K. 2001. The past, present and future of childhood malaria mortality in Africa. Trends Parasitol, 17 (12), pp. 593-597. Read abstract | Read more

During the past few years, there has been a historic series of declarations of renewed commitment to malaria control in Africa. Whether the burden of malaria is increasing in Africa is a moot point. This article attempts to re-construct the evidence for the trends in childhood mortality as a result of Plasmodium falciparum infection over the last century in Africa. Hide abstract

White NJ, Nosten F, Looareesuwan S, Watkins WM, Marsh K, Snow RW, Kokwaro G, Ouma J et al. 1999. Averting a malaria disaster. Lancet, 353 (9168), pp. 1965-1967. | Read more

Craig MH, Snow RW, le Sueur D. 1999. A climate-based distribution model of malaria transmission in sub-Saharan Africa. Parasitol Today, 15 (3), pp. 105-111. Read abstract | Read more

Malaria remains the single largest threat to child survival in sub-Saharan Africa and warrants long-term investment for control. Previous malaria distribution maps have been vague and arbitrary. Marlies Craig, Bob Snow and David le Sueur here describe a simple numerical approach to defining distribution of malaria transmission, based upon biological constraints of climate on parasite and vector development. The model compared well with contemporary field data and historical 'expert opinion' maps, excepting small-scale ecological anomalies. The model provides a numerical basis for further refinement and prediction of the impact of climate change on transmission. Together with population, morbidity and mortality data, the model provides a fundamental tool for strategic control of malaria. Hide abstract

Snow RW, Craig M, Deichmann U, Marsh K. 1999. Estimating mortality, morbidity and disability due to malaria among Africa's non-pregnant population. Bull World Health Organ, 77 (8), pp. 624-640. Read abstract

The contribution of malaria to morbidity and mortality among people in Africa has been a subject of academic interest, political advocacy, and speculation. National statistics for much of sub-Saharan Africa have proved to be an unreliable source of disease-specific morbidity and mortality data. Credible estimates of disease-specific burdens are required for setting global and national priorities for health in order to rationalize the use of limited resources and lobby for financial support. We have taken an empirical approach to defining the limits of Plasmodium falciparum transmission across the continent and interpolated the distributions of projected populations in 1995. By combining a review of the literature on malaria in Africa and models of acquired functional immunity, we have estimated the age-structured rates of the fatal, morbid and disabling sequelae following exposure to malaria infection under different epidemiological conditions. Hide abstract

Snow RW, Omumbo JA, Lowe B, Molyneux CS, Obiero JO, Palmer A, Weber MW, Pinder M et al. 1997. Relation between severe malaria morbidity in children and level of Plasmodium falciparum transmission in Africa. Lancet, 349 (9066), pp. 1650-1654. Read abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria remains a major cause of mortality and morbidity in Africa. Many approaches to malaria control involve reducing the chances of infection but little is known of the relations between parasite exposure and the development of effective clinical immunity so the long-term effect of such approaches to control on the pattern and frequency of malaria cannot be predicted. METHODS: We have prospectively recorded paediatric admissions with severe malaria over three to five years from five discrete communities in The Gambia and Kenya. Demographic analysis of the communities exposed to disease risk allowed the estimation of age-specific rates for severe malaria. Within each community the exposure to Plasmodium falciparum infection was determined through repeated parasitological and serological surveys among children and infants. We used acute respiratory-tract infections (ARI) as a comparison. FINDINGS: 3556 malaria admissions were recorded for the five sites. Marked differences were observed in age, clinical spectrum and rates of severe malaria between the five sites. Paradoxically, the risks of severe disease in childhood were lowest among populations with the highest transmission intensities, and the highest disease risks were observed among populations exposed to low-to-moderate intensities of transmission. For severe malaria, for example, admission rates (per 1000 per year) for children up to their 10th birthday were estimated as 3.9, 25.8, 25.9, 16.7, and 18.0 in the five communities; the forces of infection estimated for those communities (new infections per infant per month) were 0.001, 0.034, 0.050, 0.093, and 0.176, respectively. Similar trends were noted for cerebral malaria and for severe malaria anaemia but not for ARI. Mean age of disease decreased with increasing transmission intensity. INTERPRETATION: We propose that a critical determinant of life-time disease risk is the ability to develop clinical immunity early in life during a period when other protective mechanisms may operate. In highly endemic areas measures which reduce parasite transmission, and thus immunity, may lead to a change in both the clinical spectrum of severe disease and the overall burden of severe malaria morbidity. Hide abstract

Nevill CG, Some ES, Mung'ala VO, Mutemi W, New L, Marsh K, Lengeler C, Snow RW. 1996. Insecticide-treated bednets reduce mortality and severe morbidity from malaria among children on the Kenyan coast. Trop Med Int Health, 1 (2), pp. 139-146. Read abstract | Read more

New tools to prevent malaria morbidity and mortality are needed to improve child survival in sub-Saharan Africa. Insecticide treated bednets (ITBN) have been shown, in one setting (The Gambia, West Africa), to reduce childhood mortality. To assess the impact of ITBN on child survival under different epidemiological and cultural conditions we conducted a community randomized, controlled trial of permethrin treated bednets (0.5 g/m2) among a rural population on the Kenyan Coast. Between 1991 and 1993 continuous community-based demographic surveillance linked to hospital-based in-patient surveillance identified all mortality and severe malaria morbidity events during a 2-year period among a population of over 11000 children under 5 years of age. In July 1993, 28 randomly selected communities were issued ITBN, instructed in their use and the nets re-impregnated every 6 months. The remaining 28 communities served as contemporaneous controls for the following 2 years, during which continuous demographic and hospital surveillance was maintained until the end of July 1995. The introduction of ITBN led to significant reductions in childhood mortality (PE 33%, CI 7-51%) and severe, life-threatening malaria among children aged 1-59 months (PE 44%, CI 19-62). These findings confirm the value of ITBN in improving child survival and provide the first evidence of their specific role in reducing severe morbidity from malaria. Hide abstract

Snow RW, Bastos de Azevedo I, Lowe BS, Kabiru EW, Nevill CG, Mwankusye S, Kassiga G, Marsh K, Teuscher T. 1994. Severe childhood malaria in two areas of markedly different falciparum transmission in east Africa. Acta Trop, 57 (4), pp. 289-300. Read abstract | Read more

Malaria remains a major public health challenge in sub-Saharan Africa, yet our knowledge of the epidemiology of malaria in terms of patterns of mortality and morbidity is limited. We have examined the presentation of severe, potentially life-threatening malaria to district hospitals in two very different transmission settings: Kilifi, Kenya with low seasonal transmission and Ifakara, Tanzania with high seasonal transmission. The minimum annual rates of severe disease in children below five years in both populations were similar (46 per 1000 children in Kilifi and 51 per 1000 children in Ifakara). However, there were important differences in the age and clinical patterns of severe disease; twice as many patients were under one year of age in Ifakara compared with Kilifi and there was a four fold higher rate of cerebral malaria and three fold lower rate of malaria anaemia among malaria patients at Kilifi compared with Ifakara. Reducing malaria transmission in Ifakara by 95%, for example with insecticide-treated bed nets, would result in a transmission setting comparable to that of Kilifi and although this reduction may yield early successes in reducing severe malaria morbidity and mortality in young, immunologically naive children, place these same children at increased risk at older ages of developing severe and potentially different manifestations of malaria infection hence producing no net cohort gain in survivorship from potentially fatal malaria. Hide abstract

Snow RW, Schellenberg JR, Peshu N, Forster D, Newton CR, Winstanley PA, Mwangi I, Waruiru C, Warn PA, Newbold C. 1993. Periodicity and space-time clustering of severe childhood malaria on the coast of Kenya. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 87 (4), pp. 386-390. Read abstract | Read more

Traditionally malaria epidemiology has focused on factors such as parasite rates and vector dynamics without specific reference to disease. There are limited comprehensive data on malaria as a life-threatening event in African children. We have identified, through hospital surveillance, 581 episodes of severe malaria in residents of a defined area on the Kenya coast over a period of 3 years. This represents an absolute minimum risk of developing severe malaria by the fifth birthday of 1 in 15. The presentation of severe malaria showed marked seasonality, but the timing and magnitude of these fluctuations varied considerably between years. A satellite navigational system was used to define the exact location of the home of each severe malaria case. Space-time clustering of severe malaria was evident in this community. Seasonal peaks in incidence of severe malaria may comprise discrete mini-epidemics. In contrast, parasite rates in the community varied little during the course of the surveillance. The monitoring of disease, as opposed to parasitization, in children may result in more effective targeting of intervention resources. Hide abstract

Snow RW, Armstrong JR, Forster D, Winstanley MT, Marsh VM, Newton CR, Waruiru C, Mwangi I, Winstanley PA, Marsh K. 1992. Childhood deaths in Africa: uses and limitations of verbal autopsies. Lancet, 340 (8815), pp. 351-355. Read abstract | Read more

The verbal autopsy (VA) is an epidemiological tool that is widely used to ascribe causes of death by interviewing bereaved relatives of children who were not under medical supervision at the time of death. This technique was assessed by comparison with a prospective survey of 303 childhood deaths at a district hospital in Kenya where medically confirmed diagnoses were available. Common causes of death were detected by VA with specificities greater than 80%. Sensitivity of the VA technique was greater than 75% for measles, neonatal tetanus, malnutrition, and trauma-related deaths; however, malaria, anaemia, acute respiratory-tract infection, gastroenteritis, and meningitis were detected with sensitivities of less than 50%. There may have been unwarranted optimism in the ability of VAs to detect some of the major causes of death, such as malaria, in African children. VA used in malaria-specific intervention trials should be interpreted with caution and only in the light of known sensitivities and specificities. Hide abstract

Snow RW, Lindsay SW, Hayes RJ, Greenwood BM. 1988. Permethrin-treated bed nets (mosquito nets) prevent malaria in Gambian children. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 82 (6), pp. 838-842. Read abstract | Read more

The incidence of clinical attacks of malaria was significantly less in Gambian children aged 1-9 years who slept in villages where all the bed nets (mosquito nets) were treated with permethrin than in children who slept in control villages with placebo-treated nets. Significant differences in changes in spleen size and in packed cell volume were also observed between the 2 groups during the course of a rainy season. No side effect was noted. Treatment of bed nets with insecticide is a form of malaria control that is well suited to community participation and can readily be incorporated into primary health care programmes. Insecticide-treated nets may be more effective in areas of seasonal or low intensity transmission than in areas with heavy perennial challenge. Hide abstract

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