Volume 61, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


We stratified the risk of malaria transmission (Plasmodium vivax) in 35 villages along a coastal range in northeastern Venezuela (51 km2) where the main vector is the mosquito Anopheles aquasalis. After 20 years without local malaria transmission, reinfection of the entire area occurred from May to December 1985 by local (continuous) and jump (discontinuous) dispersal. Epidemiologic, environmental, and vector variables were investigated with the aid of a Geographic Information System. Risk factors for malaria transmission were human population density, proximity to pre-adult mosquito habitats (< 500 m), and the number of pre-adult habitats nearby. Most inhabitants, immature mosquito habitats, and malaria cases were located at low elevations and on gentle slopes. High prevalence of malaria during the dry seasons was associated with the presence of permanent bodies of water containing An. aquasalis. Occurrence of a La Niña event in 1988 (wet and cool phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation) triggered malaria transmission to unusually high levels, consolidating infection in the area, and rendering traditional control efforts useless. We recommend tracking malaria persistence per village and associated risk factors as methods to reduce the cost of malaria control programs.


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