The world population, especially in developing countries, has experienced a rapid progression of urbanization over the last half century. Urbanization has been accompanied by a rise in cases of urban infectious diseases, such as malaria. The complexity and heterogeneity of the urban environment has made study of specific urban centers vital for urban malaria control programs, whereas more generalizable risk factor identification also remains essential. Ahmedabad city, India, is a large urban center located in the state of Gujarat, which has experienced a significant Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum disease burden. Therefore, a targeted analysis of malaria in Ahmedabad city was undertaken to identify spatiotemporal patterns of malaria, risk factors, and methods of predicting future malaria cases. Malaria incidence in Ahmedabad city was found to be spatially heterogeneous, but temporally stable, with high spatial correlation between species. Because of this stability, a prediction method utilizing historic cases from prior years and seasons was used successfully to predict which areas of Ahmedabad city would experience the highest malaria burden and could be used to prospectively target interventions. Finally, spatial analysis showed that normalized difference vegetation index, proximity to water sources, and location within Ahmedabad city relative to the dense urban core were the best predictors of malaria incidence. Because of the heterogeneity of urban environments and urban malaria itself, the study of specific large urban centers is vital to assist in allocating resources and informing future urban planning.
© The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.