Exploring the spatiotemporal drivers of malaria elimination in Europe

Xia Zhao, David L. Smith, Andrew J. Tatem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Europe once had widespread malaria, but today it is free from endemic transmission. Changing land use, agricultural practices, housing quality, urbanization, climate change, and improved healthcare are among the many factors thought to have played a role in the declines of malaria seen, but their effects and relative contributions have rarely been quantified. Methods: Spatial datasets on changes in climate, wealth, life expectancy, urbanization, and land use trends over the past century were combined with datasets depicting the reduction in malaria transmission across 31 European countries, and the relationships were explored. Moreover, the conditions in current malaria-eliminating countries were compared with those in Europe at the time of declining transmission and elimination to assess similarities. Results/conclusions: Indicators relating to socio-economic improvements such as wealth, life expectancy and urbanization were strongly correlated with the decline of malaria in Europe, whereas those describing climatic and land use changes showed weaker relationships. Present-day malaria-elimination countries have now arrived at similar socio-economic indicator levels as European countries at the time malaria elimination was achieved, offering hope for achievement of sustainable elimination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number122
JournalMalaria journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 4 2016


  • Europe
  • GIS
  • Malaria elimination
  • Malaria risk mapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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