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From high to low malaria transmission in Zanzibar-challenges and opportunities to achieve elimination

Journal article
Authors A. Björkman
D Shakely
A. S. Ali
U. Morris
H. Mkali
A. K. Abbas
A. W. Al-Mafazy
K. A. Haji
J. Mcha
R. Omar
J. Cook
Kristina Elfving
Max Petzold
M. C. Sachs
B. Aydin-Schmidt
C. Drakeley
M. Msellem
A. Mårtensson
Published in BMC medicine
Volume 17
Issue 1
Pages 14
ISSN 1741-7015
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Infectious Medicine
Institute of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Health Metrics
Pages 14
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-018-1243-...
Subject categories Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Substantial global progress in the control of malaria in recent years has led to increased commitment to its potential elimination. Whether this is possible in high transmission areas of sub-Saharan Africa remains unclear. Zanzibar represents a unique case study of such attempt, where modern tools and strategies for malaria treatment and vector control have been deployed since 2003. METHODS: We have studied temporal trends of comprehensive malariometric indices in two districts with over 100,000 inhabitants each. The analyses included triangulation of data from annual community-based cross-sectional surveys, health management information systems, vital registry and entomological sentinel surveys. RESULTS: The interventions, with sustained high-community uptake, were temporally associated with a major malaria decline, most pronounced between 2004 and 2007 and followed by a sustained state of low transmission. In 2015, the Plasmodium falciparum community prevalence of 0.43% (95% CI 0.23-0.73) by microscopy or rapid diagnostic test represented 96% reduction compared with that in 2003. The P. falciparum and P. malariae prevalence by PCR was 1.8% (95% CI 1.3-2.3), and the annual P. falciparum incidence was estimated to 8 infections including 2.8 clinical episodes per 1000 inhabitants. The total parasite load decreased over 1000-fold (99.9%) between 2003 and 2015. The incidence of symptomatic malaria at health facilities decreased by 94% with a trend towards relatively higher incidence in age groups > 5 years, a more pronounced seasonality and with reported travel history to/from Tanzania mainland as a higher risk factor. All-cause mortality among children < 5 years decreased by 72% between 2002 and 2007 mainly following the introduction of artemisinin-based combination therapies whereas the main reduction in malaria incidence followed upon the vector control interventions from 2006. Human biting rates decreased by 98% with a major shift towards outdoor biting by Anopheles arabiensis. CONCLUSIONS: Zanzibar provides new evidence of the feasibility of reaching uniquely significant and sustainable malaria reduction (pre-elimination) in a previously high endemic region in sub-Saharan Africa. The data highlight constraints of optimistic prognostic modelling studies. New challenges, mainly with outdoor transmission, a large asymptomatic parasite reservoir and imported infections, require novel tools and reoriented strategies to prevent a rebound effect and achieve elimination.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012
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