Participatory risk mapping of malaria vector exposure in northern South America using environmental and population data

D. O. Fuller, A. Troyo, T. O. Alimi, J. C. Beier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Malaria elimination remains a major public health challenge in many tropical regions, including large areas of northern South America. In this study, we present a new high spatial resolution (90×90m) risk map for Colombia and surrounding areas based on environmental and human population data. The map was created through a participatory multi-criteria decision analysis in which expert opinion was solicited to determine key environmental and population risk factors, different fuzzy functions to standardize risk factor inputs, and variable factor weights to combine risk factors in a geographic information system. The new risk map was compared to a map of malaria cases in which cases were aggregated to the municipio (municipality) level. The relationship between mean municipio risk scores and total cases by muncipio showed a weak correlation. However, the relationship between pixel-level risk scores and vector occurrence points for two dominant vector species, Anopheles albimanus and Anopheles darlingi, was significantly different (p<0.05) from a random point distribution, as was a pooled point distribution for these two vector species and Anopheles nuneztovari. Thus, we conclude that the new risk map based on expert opinion provides an accurate spatial representation of risk of potential vector exposure rather than malaria transmission as shown by the pattern of malaria cases, and therefore it may be used to inform public health authorities as to where vector control measures should be prioritized to limit human-vector contact in future malaria outbreaks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Geography
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Anopheles species
  • Malaria
  • Multi-criteria decision analysis
  • Participatory GIS
  • Risk mapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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