Mapping Risk of Malaria Transmission Using a Mathematical Modelling Approach
Malaria is currently one of the world's major health problems. About a half-million deaths are recorded every year. In Portugal, malaria cases were significantly high until the end of the 1950s but the disease was considered eliminated in 1973. In the past few years, endemic malaria cases have been recorded in some European countries. With the increasing human mobility from countries with endemic malaria to Portugal, there is concern about the resurgence of this disease in the country. Here, we model and map the risk of malaria transmission for mainland Portugal, considering 3 different scenarios of existing imported infections. This risk assessment resulted from entomological studies on An. atroparvus, the only known mosquito capable of transmitting malaria in the study area. We used the malariogenic potential (determined by receptivity, infectivity and vulnerability) applied over geospatial data sets to estimate spatial variation in malaria risk. The results suggest that the risk exists, and the hotspots are concentrated in the northeast region of the country and in the upper and lower Alentejo regions.