As malaria control programmes concentrate their efforts towards malaria elimination a better understanding of malaria transmission patterns at fine spatial resolution units becomes necessary. Defining spatial units that consider transmission heterogeneity, human movement and migration will help to set up achievable malaria elimination milestones and guide the creation of efficient operational administrative control units. Using a combination of genetic and epidemiological data we defined a malaria transmission unit as the area contributing 95% of malaria cases diagnosed at the catchment facility located in the town of Guapi in the South Pacific Coast of Colombia. We provide data showing that P. falciparum malaria transmission is heterogeneous in time and space and analysed, using topological data analysis, the spatial connectivity, at the micro epidemiological level, between parasite populations circulating within the unit. To illustrate the necessity to evaluate the efficacy of malaria control measures within the transmission unit in order to increase the efficiency of the malaria control effort, we provide information on the size of the asymptomatic reservoir, the nature of parasite genotypes associated with drug resistance as well as the frequency of the Pfhrp2/3 deletion associated with false negatives when using Rapid Diagnostic Tests.
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