Background: Swaziland aims to eliminate malaria by 2020. However, imported cases from neighbouring endemic countries continue to sustain local parasite reservoirs and initiate transmission. As certain weather and climatic conditions may trigger or intensify malaria outbreaks, identification of areas prone to these conditions may aid decision-makers in deploying targeted malaria interventions more effectively. Methods: Malaria case-surveillance data for Swaziland were provided by Swaziland’s National Malaria Control Programme. Climate data were derived from local weather stations and remote sensing images. Climate parameters and malaria cases between 2001 and 2015 were then analysed using seasonal autoregressive integrated moving average models and distributed lag non-linear models (DLNM). Results: The incidence of malaria in Swaziland increased between 2005 and 2010, especially in the Lubombo and Hhohho regions. A time-series analysis indicated that warmer temperatures and higher precipitation in the Lubombo and Hhohho administrative regions are conducive to malaria transmission. DLNM showed that the risk of malaria increased in Lubombo when the maximum temperature was above 30 °C or monthly precipitation was above 5 in. In Hhohho, the minimum temperature remaining above 15 °C or precipitation being greater than 10 in. might be associated with malaria transmission. Conclusions: This study provides a preliminary assessment of the impact of short-term climate variations on malaria transmission in Swaziland. The geographic separation of imported and locally acquired malaria, as well as population behaviour, highlight the varying modes of transmission, part of which may be relevant to climate conditions. Thus, the impact of changing climate conditions should be noted as Swaziland moves toward malaria elimination.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases