The Open Public Health Journal

ISSN: 1874-9445 ― Volume 14, 2021

Investigating the Resurgence of Malaria Prevalence in South Africa Between 2015 and 2018: A Scoping Review

Gbenga J. Abiodun1, *, Babatope Adebiyi2, Rita O. Abiodun3, Olanrewaju Oladimeji4, 5, 6, Kelechi Oladimeji5, 7, Abiodun M. Adeola8, 9, Olusola S. Makinde10, Kazeem O. Okosun11, Ramsès Djidjou-Demasse12, Vyes J. Semegni13, Kevin Y. Njabo14, Peter J. Witbooi15, Alejandro Aceves1
1 Department of Mathematics, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX 75275, USA
2 Department of Public Health, University of the Western Cape, Bellville7535, South Africa
3 School of Nursing, University of the Western Cape, Bellville7535, South Africa
4 Center for Community Healthcare, Research and Development, Abuja, Nigeria
5 Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria, South Africa
6 Department of Public Health, Walter Sisulu University, Eastern Cape, South Africa
7 Department of Public Health, Fort Hare University, Eastern Cape, South Africa
8 South African Weather Service, Private Bag X097, Pretoria0001, South Africa
9 School of Health Systems and Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa
10 Department of Statistics, Federal University of Technology, P.M.B 704, Akure, Nigeria
11 Department of Mathematics, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045 - 7594, USA
12 MIVEGEC, IRD, CNRS, University of Montpellier, Montpellier, France
13 Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, North West University, South Africa
14 Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
15 Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, University of the Western Cape, Bellville7535, South Africa



Malaria remains a serious concern in most African countries, causing nearly one million deaths globally every year. This review aims to examine the extent and nature of the resurgence of malaria transmission in South Africa.


Using the Arksey and O'Malley framework, this scoping review includes articles published between the years 2015 and 2018 on the resurgence of malaria occurrence in South Africa. Articles were searched between October 2018 to January 2019 using the following electronic databases: CINAHL, Pubmed, Science Direct and SCOPUS. Grey literature from Google Scholar was also hand searched. Key search terms and subject headings such as climate variables, climate changes, climatic factors, malaria resurgence, malaria reoccurrence and malaria increase over epidemic regions in South Africa were used to identify relevant articles. Three independent reviewers performed the selection and characterization of articles, and the data collected were synthesized qualitatively.


A total number of 534 studies were identified. Among these, 24 studies met the inclusion criteria. The results were grouped by factors (four main themes) that influenced the malaria resurgence: Climatic, Epidemiological, Socio-economic, and Environmental factors. Climatic factors were found to be the major factor responsible for the resurgence of malaria, as more than 55% of the selected articles were climate-focused. This was followed by epidemiological, socio-economic and environmental factors, in that order. Grey literature from Google Scholar yielded no results.


This study shows that malaria transmission in South Africa is more associated with climate. Climate-based malaria models could be used as early warning systems for malaria over the epidemic regions in South Africa. Since epidemiological factors also play significant roles in malaria transmission, regular and unrelaxed use of Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) should be encouraged in these regions. Individuals should also be educated on the importance and the usefulness of these deliveries. While some studies have indicated that the vectors have developed resistance to insecticides, continuous research on developing new insecticides that could alter the resistance are encouraged. Furthermore, all efforts to eradicate malaria in South Africa must also target malaria-endemic neighbouring countries.

Keywords: Malaria resurgence, Climate change, South Africa, IRS, Environmental factors, Mosquitos.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2020
Volume: 13
Publisher Item Identifier (PII): BMS-TOPHJ-2019-98

Article History:

Received Date: 12/11/2019
Revision Received Date: 07/02/2020
Acceptance Date: 11/02/2020
Electronic publication date: 20/03/2020
Collection year: 2020

© 2020 Abiodun et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Mathematics, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas75275, 6425 Boaz Lane, USA;
Tel: +2148155464; E-mail:

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