The prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Zanzibar has reached historic lows. Improving control requires quantifying malaria importation rates, identifying high-risk travelers, and assessing onwards transmission.Estimates of Zanzibar's importation rate were calculated through two independent methodologies. First, mobile phone usage data and ferry traffic between Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania were re-analyzed using a model of heterogeneous travel risk. Second, a dynamic mathematical model of importation and transmission rates was used.Zanzibar residents traveling to malaria endemic regions were estimated to contribute 1-15 times more imported cases than infected visitors. The malaria importation rate was estimated to be 1.6 incoming infections per 1,000 inhabitants per year. Local transmission was estimated too low to sustain transmission in most places.Malaria infections in Zanzibar largely result from imported malaria and subsequent transmission. Plasmodium falciparum malaria elimination appears feasible by implementing control measures based on detecting imported malaria cases and controlling onward transmission.

Original publication





Scientific Reports

Publication Date