31 Oct 2017

Presenting NaTHNaC malaria maps 2017

What’s in a map? Presenting NaTHNaC malaria maps 2017

All our malaria maps were recently updated in accordance with the 2017 Advisory Committee on Malaria Prevention (ACMP) guidelines. There was a substantial revision to the recommendations for some countries this year and we have re-designed the maps with a new colour coding to reflect the different levels of risk from “No” to “High risk”.

How are the maps created?

The maps are created in stages. First, a simple map is created with features such as:

  • Provinces
  • Altitude limits
  • River basins
  • Major cities

In the next stage, travel health nurse advisers from NaTHNaC’s telephone advice line annotate the maps with points of interests and transport hubs that are popular with tourists and those we commonly receive queries on concerning malaria prevention. The maps do not feature an indefinite list of tourist attractions, but highlight those that are en route for popular travel itineraries and where travellers are likely to cross boundaries between low and high risk areas for malaria.

Finally, the maps are agreed with ACMP to ensure consistency with the guideline’s recommendations and wording.

ACMP recommendations are based on a review that looks at laboratory and epidemiological data from UK travellers, WHO, and information from in-country experts, to decide on the recommendation for each country. Each country’s risk is assessed, and a recommendation for bite avoidance only or bite avoidance plus chemoprophylaxis is produced.

All the maps were created using the open source mapping software, Quantum GIS.

How is seasonal variation dealt with?

When there is seasonal variation in the malaria advice, we have created an insert for the winter (lower activity) season. Examples of maps with seasonal variation are Afghanistan, Mauritania, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.

Why don’t all countries have malaria maps?

We have not produced maps for countries where the advice is the same for the whole country.

Are they risk maps?

No. The maps show the malaria prevention advice (including chemoprophylaxis if relevant) for different areas within a country. They are based on the best available information and often follow regional boundaries, altitude limits, or river basins.

New malaria maps


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