Researchers use cell phone records to forecast malaria spread

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Washington, Dec 17 (ANI): Scientists from the University of Florida working over a malaria elimination study in Africa have broken new ground by using cell phone records to predict the spread of the disease.

Researchers reviewed over 21million calls to find out how often the people of Zanzibar (a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania) travel and where they go.

The calls suggested that most people undertake short trips to Dar es Salaam on the Tanzanian mainland nearby, where malaria is comparatively rare.

However, it was also discovered that a few residents travel to and fro from areas where malaria risk is higher.

Andy Tatem, an assistant professor of geography, member of UF's Emerging Pathogens Institute, said: "That group of the population is the real risk if Zanzibar wants to eliminate malaria.

"That is the population group that is likely to be continually reintroducing infection."

Although, malaria cannot be transmitted from one person to another, mosquitoes spread the disease by biting an infected person and then spreading the malarial parasite by biting others.

The study is likely to be published in the January issue of the Malaria Journal. (ANI)

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