Spatiotemporal Distribution of Malaria in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Ahmed Elagali, Mosa Shubayr, Elsiddig Noureldin, Kefyalew Addis Alene, Asmaa Elagali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Malaria is a significant public health concern in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). This study aimed to investigate the spatiotemporal distribution of malaria in the KSA between 2017 and 2021. Methods: A spatial analysis was conducted using data for malaria cases stratified by Plasmodium species reported by the Ministry of Health for the period 2017–2021. Covariate data such as environmental, socioeconomic, and demographic factors were assembled from different publicly available sources. Results: A total of 13,852 cases were reported from 20 regions in the KSA during the study period. The study indicated a decline in the overall number of reported cases from 2715 in 2017 to 2616 in 2021, primarily driven by a decrease in Plasmodium falciparum infections. However, the number of Plasmodium vivax cases increased in 2021. Southern regions of the KSA remained at higher risk due to imported cases from neighboring Yemen. Socioeconomic and demographic factors, such as access to healthcare and education, were found to affect malaria transmission. Environmental factors, such as temperature and rainfall, were also identified as determinants of malaria risk. Conclusions: This study showed significant spatial variation in malaria cases in the KSA that was related to underlying socioeconomic status and environmental factors. The findings of this study highlight the need for continued efforts to control and eliminate malaria in the KSA, particularly in regions with higher risk of malaria.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16
Number of pages13
JournalTropical Medicine and Infectious Disease
Issue number1
Early online date8 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


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