J Trop Med. 2012 Oct.
Factors Contributing to Urban Malaria Transmission in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Review
Prathiba M. De Silva and John M. Marshall
Sub-Saharan Africa suffers by far the greatest malaria burden worldwide and is currently undergoing a profound demographic change, with a growing proportion of its population moving to urban areas. Urbanisation is generally expected to reduce malaria transmission; however the disease still persists in African cities, in some cases at higher levels than in nearby rural areas.
Objective. This paper aims to collate and analyse risk factors for urban malaria transmission throughout sub-Saharan Africa and to discuss their implications for control.
Methods. A systematic search on malaria and urbanisation was carried out focusing on sub-Saharan Africa. Particular interest was taken in vector breeding sites in urban and periurban areas.
Results. A variety of urban vector breeding sites were catalogued, the majority of which were artificial, including urban agriculture, tyre tracks, and ditches. Natural breeding sites varied according to location. Low socioeconomic status was a significant risk factor for malaria, often present in peri-urban areas. A worrying trend was seen in the adaptation of malaria vector species to the urban environment. Urban malaria is highly focused and control programs should reflect this.
Conclusion. As urbanisation continues and vector species adapt, continued monitoring and control of urban malaria in sub-Saharan Africa is essential.