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The latest research articles published by Malaria Journal
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A potential threat to malaria elimination: extensive deltamethrin and DDT resistance to Anopheles sinensis from the malaria-endemic areas in China
Background: Insecticide resistance in malaria vectors is a growing concern in many countries and requires immediate attention because of the limited chemical arsenal available for vector control. There is lack of systematic and standard monitoring data of malaria vector resistance in the endemic areas, which is essential for the ambitious goal of malaria elimination programme of China. Methods: In 2010, eight provinces from different malaria endemic region were selected for study areas. Bioassays were performed on F1 progeny of Anopheles sinensis reared from wild-caught females using the standard WHO susceptibility test with diagnostic concentrations of 0.25% deltamethrin and 4% DDT. Results: For An. sinensis, the results indicated that exposure to 0.25% deltamethrin of F1 families with mortalities ranging from 5.96% to 64.54% and less than 80% mortality to DDT at the diagnostic concentration of 4% across the study areas. Conclusions: Anopheles sinensis was completely resistant to both deltamethrin and DDT, and resistance to pyrethroid has risen strikingly compared to that recorded during 1990s. The results highlight the importance of longitudinal insecticide resistance monitoring and the urgent need for a better understanding of the status of insecticide resistance in this region.
Fulani show decreased susceptibility to Plasmodium falciparum infection versus Mossi: data from a community-wide screening and treatment of asymptomatic carriers in Burkina Faso
Background: The Fulani ethnic group is known to have a lower susceptibility to Plasmodium falciparum infection than the Mossi. Methods: This commentary describes data from a recent cluster-randomized trial of community-wide screening and treatment of asymptomatic carriers of P. falciparum in 18 villages in Sapone, Burkina Faso. Results: The Fulani groups had a lower proportion of asymptomatic carriers at any occasion, a lower density of asexual forms and gametocytes of P. falciparum at baseline, and, in children under five years of age, lower rates of symptomatic malaria episodes per person-year than the Mossi.Discussion and conclusion: These data confirm previously reported differences in P. falciparum susceptibility between Fulani and Mossi.
Evaluation of the 2011 long-lasting, insecticide-treated net distribution for universal coverage in Togo
Background: Malaria remains a substantial public health problem in Togo. An integrated child health campaign was conducted in Togo in October 2011. This campaign included a component of free distribution of 2,799,800 long-lasting, insecticide-treated nets (LLINs) to households throughout Togo. This distribution marked the first effort in Togo at universal LLIN coverage and was not targeted specifically to children under five years and pregnant women, but to all household members. This study reports the results of the LLIN distribution campaign in terms of bed net possession and utilization. Methods: A representative household survey was implemented during the rainy season nine months after the LLIN distribution component of the campaign. Some 6,015 households selected through two stages of probability proportion to size stratified random sampling were interviewed using a brief questionnaire that included a demographic section with questions on the number of household members and sleeping spaces, and a campaign participation section with questions used to evaluate non-LLIN aspects of the campaign. A net roster listed all nets and their characteristics, and a household roster listed all members and visitors with information about bed net use. The questions addressed different aspects of bed net and LLIN possession and utilization. Crude weighted frequencies, percentages, and t- tests of association were calculated using the Stata 12.0 Survey features. Results: Possession of at least one bed net and/ or LLIN increased from 41.3% to 96.7% (P <0.001). Household possession of at least one campaign LLIN was 93.3%. Report LLIN among pregnant women was 77.5% and 79.3% for children under five. For the general population LLIN use was 68.3%. Conclusions: Due to the gap in LLIN possession and use and the significant number of individuals reporting a lack of nets as a reason for non-use, additional national LLIN distribution campaigns with a stronger educational component need to be implemented in order increase the use of available LLINs and to reach and maintain universal coverage of LLINs in Togo. The LLIN distribution campaign focusing on universal coverage of the general population in Togo was more successful at increasing LLIN possession and use of children under five years and pregnant women than other campaigns focusing only on these target groups.
Background: To advance research on malaria, the outputs from existing studies and the data that fed into them need to be made freely available. This will ensure new studies can build on the work that has gone before. These data and results also need to be made available to groups who are developing public health policies based on up-to-date evidence. The Malaria Atlas Project (MAP) has collated and geopositioned over 50,000 parasite prevalence and vector occurrence survey records contributed by over 3,000 sources including research groups, government agencies and non-governmental organizations worldwide. This paper describes the results of a project set up to release data gathered, used and generated by MAP. Methods: Requests for permission to release data online were sent to 236 groups who had contributed unpublished prevalence (parasite rate) surveys. An online explorer tool was developed so that users can visualize the spatial distribution of the vector and parasite survey data before downloading it. In addition, a consultation group was convened to provide advice on the mode and format of release for data generated by MAP's modelling work. New software was developed to produce a suite of publication-quality map images for download from the internet for use in external publications. Conclusion: More than 40,000 survey records can now be visualized on a set of dynamic maps and downloaded from the MAP website on a free and unrestricted basis. As new data are added and new permissions to release existing data come in, the volume of data available for download will increase. The modelled data output from MAP's own analyses are also available online in a range of formats, including image files and GIS surface data, for use in advocacy, education, further research and to help parameterize or validate other mathematical models.
A member of the Plasmodium falciparum PHIST family binds to the erythrocyte cytoskeleton component band 4.1
Background: Plasmodium falciparum parasites export more than 400 proteins into the cytosol of their host erythrocytes. These exported proteins catalyse the formation of knobs on the erythrocyte plasma membrane and an overall increase in erythrocyte rigidity, presumably by modulating the endogenous erythrocyte cytoskeleton. In uninfected erythrocytes, Band 4.1 (4.1R) plays a key role in regulating erythrocyte shape by interacting with multiple proteins through the three lobes of its cloverleaf-shaped N-terminal domain. In P. falciparum-infected erythrocytes, the C-lobe of 4.1R interacts with the P. falciparum protein mature parasite-infected erythrocyte surface antigen (MESA), but it is not currently known whether other P. falciparum proteins bind to other lobes of the 4.1R N-terminal domain. Methods: In order to identify novel 4.1R interacting proteins, a yeast two-hybrid screen was performed with a fragment of 4.1R containing both the N- and alpha-lobes. Positive interactions were confirmed and investigated using site-directed mutagenesis, and antibodies were raised against the interacting partner to characterise it's expression and distribution in P. falciparum infected erythrocytes. Results: Yeast two-hybrid screening identified a positive interaction between the 4.1R N- and alpha-lobes and PF3D7_0402000. PF3D7_0402000 is a member of a large family of exported proteins that share a domain of unknown function, the PHIST domain. Domain mapping and site-directed mutagenesis established that it is the PHIST domain of PF3D7_0402000 that interacts with 4.1R. Native PF3D7_0402000 is localized at the parasitophorous vacuole membrane (PVM), and colocalizes with a subpopulation of 4.1R.DiscussionThe function of the majority of P. falciparum exported proteins, including most members of the PHIST family, is unknown, and in only a handful of cases has a direct interaction between P. falciparum-exported proteins and components of the erythrocyte cytoskeleton been established. The interaction between 4.1R and PF3D7_0402000, and localization of PF3D7_0402000 with a sub-population of 4.1R at the PVM could indicate a role in modulating PVM structure. Further investigation into the mechanisms for 4.1R recruitment is needed. Conclusion: PF3D7_0402000 was identified as a new binding partner for the major erythrocyte cytoskeletal protein, 4.1R. This interaction is consistent with a growing body of literature that suggests the PHIST family members function by interacting directly with erythrocyte proteins.
Over-diagnosis of malaria by microscopy in the Kilombero Valley, Southern Tanzania: an evaluation of the utility and cost-effectiveness of rapid diagnostic tests
Background: Early and accurate diagnosis of febrile patients is essential to treat uncomplicated malaria cases properly, prevent severe malaria, and avert unnecessary anti-malarial treatments. Improper use of anti-malarials increases the risk of adverse drug reaction and the evolution of drug/parasite resistance. While microscopy is the most common form of malaria diagnosis, concerns over its accuracy have prompted the incorporation of malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) into many national malaria control programmes. Methods: Over a three-month period, a direct comparison between microscopy and RDTs was made in a rural, private dispensary in the Kilombero Valley, Morogoro District, southern Tanzania, with the aim of estimating the extent of malaria over-diagnosis and over-treatment with anti-malarials. The study cohort was made up of patients referred by the dispensary's clinician for malaria testing. One hundred percent of patients approached agreed to participate in this study and were then tested using both microscopy and RDTs. Using the results from the comparison of the two tests at this dispensary, the potential cost effectiveness of introducing RDTs to a neighbouring public health centre was estimated on the basis of this centre's past malaria records spanning December 2007 to August 2011. Results: At the private dispensary, the apparent prevalence of malaria was 78% based on microscopy whereas the true prevalence, calculated using RDTs as the gold standard, was estimated at 14%. This discrepancy indicates that when using microscopy as the sole diagnostic test, malaria is being over-diagnosed by approximately a factor of five in this setting. At the public clinic, apparent malaria prevalence based on microscopy was 74%. If similar rates of over-diagnosis are assumed, 5,285 patients of the 6,769 patients positively diagnosed with malaria using microscopy were likely given unnecessary anti-malarials, and their true cause of illness was not addressed. The introduction of RDTs to the public clinic would be highly cost-efficient, with an estimated net saving of over 96 USD/month. Conclusions: Compared with RDTs, microscopy led to almost four out of five patients being over-diagnosed with malaria in this rural part of Tanzania. A policy that encompasses both the private and public sectors of health care is needed to ensure quality diagnostic testing for febrile patients. With estimated prevalence at 14%, RDT introduction is recommended given WHO findings that RDTs are predicted to be cost-effective in prevalence areas of less than 20%. The use of RDTs in malaria diagnosis would not only reduce government spending but would prove beneficial to ensuring appropriate care and treatment of febrile illness.
Background: Long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) are a cornerstone of malaria control at present, and millions are used each day across the globe. However, there is limited information about the durability of LLINs under different conditions of utilization and there is no consensus about when a LLIN ceases to be protective due to physical deterioration. This knowledge is important for malaria control programmes to plan for procurement and replacement. Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 208 households where Olyset(R) nets distributed five years ago were still present was conducted in the village of Sauri, western Kenya, in the context of the Millennium Villages Project. Information on bed net utilization and maintenance was collected in each household through a structured questionnaire, and one five-year old Olyset(R) net from each sampled household was randomly selected and collected for physical examination. All holes larger than 0.5 cm were measured in each net, registering their position, and a hole index was calculated following WHO guidelines. Nets were classified as in good condition, moderately damaged or badly torn based on the hole index. The analysis explored the associations between demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of households, patterns of bed net utilization and maintenance and physical condition of the nets. Additional analysis was conducted using malaria prevalence data collected in a separate survey to explore if there was any association between the condition of the net collected in a household and the presence of malaria parasites in members of that household. Results: 81.4% of Olyset nets distributed five years ago were still present in the surveyed households, and 98.97% of the nets were reportedly used the previous night. Nets had an average of 34.2 holes (95% CI 30.12-38.22), and the mean hole index was 849 (95% CI 711-986), IQR 174-1,135. Only 15% of nets were still in good condition, 48% were moderately damaged and 37% were badly torn after five years of utilization. There was no association between household characteristics or patterns of bed net utilization or maintenance and physical condition of the nets. The only predictor of the physical condition of the net was the cleanliness at the time of examination. There was a difference of 17.6 per cent points in the proportion of households with at least one blood smear positive for Plasmodium falciparum between those with a net in good condition (5.3%) and those with a moderately damaged or badly torn net (22.9%), with a 95% CI (0.04-0.305), t=2.77 with unequal variance, 37.2 df, p=0.008. Conclusions: Olyset nets were used extensively in Sauri, western Kenya after five years of distribution, regardless of their physical condition. However, nets had a large number of holes, and only 15% were found in good condition. Nets in good condition seem to be still protective after five years of utilization, while nets with more than 100 cm2 of holed surface may be associated with higher malaria parasitaemia at household level. Continued replacement of damaged nets and promotion of net maintenance and repair may be necessary to maintain the protective effectiveness of LLINs.
Community perceptions on the secondary health benefits established by malaria vaccine trials (RTS,S phase 2 and phase 3) at the Korogwe site in North Eastern Tanzania
Background: Studies conducted thus far have demonstrated that the malaria vaccine (RTS,S) has a promising safety profile. Within the context of planning for future vaccine trials and for the purpose of building on previous research that has been undertaken in sub-Saharan Africa with regard to community perceptions about clinical studies, this research aimed to explore the community perceptions on the secondary health benefits established by the malaria vaccine trials (RTS,S Phase 2 and Phase 3) at the Korogwe site in Tanzania. Methods: An exploratory qualitative study design was used. Participants were recruited from the Korogwe site. Sampling techniques were purposive and random. A total of five focus group discussions and six in-depth interviews were conducted. Interview guides with open-ended questions were employed to collect data. Male and female parents whose infants participated and those whose infants did not participate in the trials, health workers and community leaders were interviewed. Thematic analysis framework was used to analyse the data. Results: The activities of a malaria vaccine project appeared to be well known to the community. Respondents had largely positive views towards the secondary health benefits which have been established by malaria vaccine trials. The project has led to a massive investment in health care infrastructure and an improvement in health care services across the study areas. The project was perceived by the community to have established major secondary health benefits. Misconceptions amongst respondents, especially with regard to blood samples, were also observed in this study. Conclusion: Despite some misconceptions with regard to the conduct of malaria vaccine trials, especially on blood sampling, generally this study observed that most participants were positive about the secondary health benefits brought about by the malaria vaccine trials in Korogwe.
Background: Malaria remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa despite tools currently available for its control. Making malaria vaccine available for routine use will be a major hallmark, but its acceptance by community members and health professionals within the health system could pose considerable challenge as has been found with the introduction of polio vaccinations in parts of West Africa. Some of these challenges may not be expected since decisions people make are many a time driven by a complex myriad of perceptions. This paper reports knowledge and perceptions of community members in the Kintampo area of Ghana where malaria vaccine trials have been ongoing as part of the drive for the first-ever licensed malaria vaccine in the near future. Methods: Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used in the data collection processes. Women and men whose children were or were not involved in the malaria vaccine trial were invited to participate in focus group discussions (FGDs). Respondents, made up of heads of religious groupings in the study area, health care providers, traditional healers and traditional birth attendants, were also invited to participate in in-depth interviews (IDIs). A cross-sectional survey was conducted in communities where the malaria vaccine trial (Mal 047RTS,S) was carried out. In total, 12 FGDs, 15 IDIs and 466 household head interviews were conducted. Results: Knowledge about vaccines was widespread among participants . Respondents would like their children to be vaccinated against all childhood illnesses including malaria. Knowledge of the long existing routine vaccines was relatively high among respondents compared to hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenza type B vaccines that were introduced more recently in 2002. There was no clear religious belief or sociocultural practice that will serve as a possible barrier to the acceptance of a malaria vaccine. Conclusion: With the assumption that a malaria vaccine will be as efficacious as other EPI vaccines, community members in Central Ghana will accept and prefer malaria vaccine to malaria drugs as a malaria control tool. Beliefs and cultural practices as barriers to the acceptance of malaria vaccine were virtually unknown in the communities surveyed.
Background: Artemisinin-based combination treatment (ACT) has been widely adopted as one of the main malaria control strategies. However, its promise to save thousands of lives in sub-Saharan Africa depends on how effective the use of ACT is within the routine health system. The INESS platform evaluated effective coverage of ACT in several African countries. Timely access within 24 hours to an authorized ACT outlet is one of the determinants of effective coverage and was assessed for artemether-lumefantrine (Alu), in two district health systems in rural Tanzania. Methods: From October 2009 to June 2011we conducted continuous rolling household surveys in the Kilombero-Ulanga and the Rufiji Health and Demographic Surveillance Sites (HDSS). Surveys were linked to the routine HDSS update rounds. Members of randomly pre-selected households that had experienced a fever episode in the previous two weeks were eligible for a structured interview. Data on individual treatment seeking, access to treatment, timing, source of treatment and household costs per episode were collected. Data are presented on timely access from a total of 2,112 interviews in relation to demographics, seasonality, and socio economic status. Results: In Kilombero-Ulanga, 41.8% (CI: 36.6–45.1) and in Rufiji 36.8% (33.7–40.1) of fever cases had access to an authorized ACT provider within 24 hours of fever onset. In neither of the HDSS site was age, sex, socio-economic status or seasonality of malaria found to be significantly correlated with timely access. Conclusion: Timely access to authorized ACT providers is below 50% despite interventions intended to improve access such as social marketing and accreditation of private dispensing outlets. To improve prompt diagnosis and treatment, access remains a major bottle neck and new more innovative interventions are needed to raise effective coverage of malaria treatment in Tanzania.
Background: A successful malaria control programme began in 2004 on Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea. From 2007, the same multiple malaria interventions, though reduced in scope for funding reasons, were introduced to the four mainland provinces of Equatorial Guinea (the continental region) aiming to recreate Bioko’s success. Two provinces received long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) and two provinces received biannual indoor residual spraying (IRS). Enhanced case management and communications were introduced throughout. Methods: Estimates of intervention coverage and indicators of malaria transmission for 2007 to 2011 were derived from annual malaria indicator surveys (MIS). Results were complemented by health information system (HIS) and entomological data. The personal protection offered by LLINs and IRS against Plasmodium falciparum infection was estimated with logistic regression. Results: The estimated proportion of children aged 1–4 using either an LLIN the previous night or living in a house sprayed in the last six months was 23% in 2007 and 42% in 2011. The estimated prevalence of P. falciparum in children aged 1–4 was 68% (N=1,770; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 58-76%) in 2007 and 52% (N=1,602; 95% CI: 44-61%) in 2011. Children 1–4 years had lower prevalence if they used an LLIN the previous night (N=1,124, 56%; adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0.64, 95% CI: 0.55-0.74) or if they lived in a sprayed house (N=1,150, 57%; aOR 0.80, 95% CI: 0.62-1.03) compared to children with neither intervention (N=4,131, 66%, reference group). The minority of children who both used an LLIN and lived in a sprayed house had the lowest prevalence of infection (N=171, 45%; aOR 0.52, 95% CI: 0.35-0.78). High site-level intervention coverage did not always correlate with lower site-level P. falciparum prevalence. The malaria season peaked in either June or July, not necessarily coinciding with MIS data collection. Conclusions: Though moderate impact was achieved after five years of vector control, case management, and communications, prevalence remained high due to an inability to sufficiently scale-up coverage with either IRS or LLINs. Both LLINs and IRS provided individual protection, but greater protection was afforded to children who benefitted from both.
Ivermectin to reduce malaria transmission: a research agenda for a promising new tool for elimination
Background: The heterogeneity of malaria transmission makes widespread elimination a difficult goal to achieve. Most of the current vector control measures insufficiently target outdoor transmission. Also, insecticide resistance threatens to diminish the efficacy of the most prevalent measures, indoor residual spray and insecticide treated nets. Innovative approaches are needed. The use of endectocides, such as ivermectin, could be an important new addition to the toolbox of anti-malarial measures. Ivermectin effectively targets outdoor transmission, has a novel mechanism of action that could circumvent resistance and might be distributed over the channels already in place for the control of onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis. Methods: The previous works involving ivermectin and Anopheles vectors are reviewed and summarized. A review of ivermectin's safety profile is also provided. Finally three definitive clinical trials are described in detail and proposed as the evidence needed for implementation. Several smaller and specific supportive studies are also proposed. Conclusions: The use of ivermectin solves many challenges identified for future vector control strategies. It is an effective and safe endectocide that was approved for human use more than 25 years ago. Recent studies suggest it might become an effective and complementary strategy in malaria elimination and eradication efforts; however, intensive research will be needed to make this a reality.
Insecticide resistance status of Anopheles gambiae s.s population from M'Be: a WHOPES-labelled experimental hut station, 10 years after the political crisis in Cote d'Ivoire
Background: An experimental hut station built at M'Be in 1998 was used for many years for the evaluation of insecticidal product for public health until the civil war broke out in 2002. Breeding sites of mosquitoes and selection pressure in the area were maintained by local farming practices and the West African Rice Development Association (WARDA, actually AfricaRice) in a large rice growing area. Ten years after the crisis, bioassays, molecular and biochemical analyses were conducted to update the resistance status and study the evolution of resistance mechanisms of Anopheles gambiae s.s population. Methods: Anopheles gambiae s.s larvae from M'Be were collected in breeding sites and reared until emergence. Resistance status of this population to conventional insecticides was assessed using WHO bioassay test kits for adult mosquitoes, with 10 insecticides belonging to pyrethroids, pseudo-pyrethroid, organochlorides, carbamates and organophosphate with and without the inhibitor piperonyl butoxyde (PBO). Molecular and biochemical assays were carried out to identify the L1014F kdr, L1014S kdr and ace-1R alleles in individual mosquitoes and to detect potential increase in mixed function oxidases (MFO) level, non-specific esterases (NSE) and glutathione S-transferases (GST) activities.Results and discussionAnopheles gambiae s.s from M'Be exerted high resistance levels to organochlorides, pyrethroids, and carbamates. Mortalities ranged from 3% to 21% for organochlorides, from 50% to 75% for pyrethroids, 34% for etofenprox, the pseudo-pyrethroid, and from 7% to 80% for carbamates. Tolerance to organophosphates was observed with mortalities ranging from 95% to 98%. Bioassays run with a pre-exposition of mosquitoes to PBO induced very high levels of mortalities compared to the bioassays without PBO, suggesting that the resistance to pyrethroid and carbamate relied largely on detoxifying enzymes' activities. The L1014F kdr allelic frequency was 0.33 in 2012 compared to 0.05 before the crisis in 2002. Neither the L1014S kdr nor ace-1R mutations were detected. An increased activity of NSE and level of MFO was found relative to the reference strain Kisumu. This was the first evidence of metabolic resistance based resistance in An. gambiae s.s from M'Be. Conclusion: The An. gambiae s.s population showed very high resistance to organochlorides, pyrethroids and carbamates. This resistance level relied largely on two major types of resistance: metabolic and target-site mutation. This multifactorial resistance offers a unique opportunity to evaluate the impact of both mechanisms and their interaction with the vector control tools currently used or in development.
Analysing and recommending options for maintaining universal coverage with long-lasting insecticidal nets: the case of Tanzania in 2011
Background: Tanzania achieved universal coverage with long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) in October 2011, after three years of free mass net distribution campaigns and is now faced with the challenge of maintaining high coverage as nets wear out and the population grows. A process of exploring options for a continuous or "Keep-Up" distribution system was initiated in early 2011. This paper presents for the first time a comprehensive national process to review the major considerations, findings and recommendations for the implementation of a new strategy. Methods: Stakeholder meetings and site visits were conducted in five locations in Tanzania to garner stakeholder input on the proposed distribution systems. Coverage levels for LLINs and their decline over time were modelled using NetCALC software, taking realistic net decay rates, current demographic profiles and other relevant parameters into consideration. Costs of the different distribution systems were estimated using local data. Results: LLIN delivery was considered via mass campaigns, Antenatal Care-Expanded Programme on Immunization (ANC/EPI), community-based distribution, schools, the commercial sector and different combinations of the above. Most approaches appeared unlikely to maintain universal coverage when used alone. Mass campaigns, even when combined with a continuation of the Tanzania National Voucher Scheme (TNVS), would produce large temporal fluctuations in coverage levels; over 10 years this strategy would require 63.3 million LLINs and a total cost of $444 million USD. Community mechanisms, while able to deliver the required numbers of LLINs, would require a massive scale-up in monitoring, evaluation and supervision systems to ensure accurate application of identification criteria at the community level. School-based approaches combined with the existing TNVS would reach most Tanzanian households and deliver 65.4 million LLINs over 10 years at a total cost of $449 million USD and ensure continuous coverage. The cost of each strategy was largely driven by the number of LLINs delivered. Conclusions: The most cost-efficient strategy to maintain universal coverage is one that best optimizes the numbers of LLINs needed over time. A school-based approach using vouchers targeting all students in Standards 1, 3, 5, 7 and Forms 1 and 2 in combination with the TNVS appears to meet best the criteria of effectiveness, equity and efficiency.
Health impact and cost-effectiveness of a private sector bed net distribution: experimental evidence from Zambia
Background: Relatively few programmes have attempted to actively engage the private sector in national malaria control efforts. This paper evaluates the health impact of a large-scale distribution of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) conducted in partnership with a Zambian agribusiness, and its cost-effectiveness from the perspective of the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP). Methods: The study was designed as a cluster-randomized controlled trial. A list of 81,597 cotton farmers was obtained from Dunavant, a contract farming company in Zambia’s cotton sector, in December 2010. 39,963 (49%) were randomly selected to obtain one ITN each. Follow-up interviews were conducted with 438 farmers in the treatment and 458 farmers in the control group in June and July 2011. Treatment and control households were compared with respect to bed net ownership, bed net usage, self-reported fever, and self-reported confirmed malaria. Cost data was collected throughout the programme. Results: The distribution effectively reached target beneficiaries, with approximately 95% of households in the treatment group reporting that they had received an ITN through the programme. The average increase in the fraction of household members sleeping under an ITN the night prior to the interview was 14.6 percentage points (p-value <0.001). Treatment was associated with a 42 percent reduction in the odds of self-reported fever (p-value <0.001) and with a 49 percent reduction in the odds of self-reported malaria (p-value 0.002). This was accomplished at a cost of approximately five US$ per ITN to Zambia’s NMCP. Conclusions: The results illustrate that existing private sector networks can efficiently control malaria in remote rural regions. The intra-household allocation of ITNs distributed through this channel was comparable to that of ITNs received from other sources, and the health impact remained substantial.
Immunoproteomic analysis of Plasmodium falciparum antigens using sera from patients with clinical history of imported malaria
Background: The malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum remains a serious public health problem in the world, due largely to the absence of an effective vaccine. There is a lack of information on the structural properties and antigens capable of activating the immunological mechanisms for the induction of protective immunity. Therefore, the objective of this study is to evaluate the serological reactivity of sera from individuals with imported malaria and identify major immunogenic proteins. Methods: The study was conducted in 227 individuals with imported malaria and 23 healthy individuals who had never been in areas endemic for malaria. The determination of anti-P. falciparum IgG antibodies was performed by an ELISA validated and optimized for this study. Sera showing higher reactivity to anti-P. falciparum by ELISA were analysed by immunoblotting and immunogenic proteins were identified by mass spectroscopy. Results: The results of anti-P. falciparum antibodies research by ELISA indicates 78 positive, 137 negative and 12 indeterminate sera. Analysis of immunoblotting demonstrated a consistent pattern with respect to immunoreactivity of antigens with molecular weights in the range of 40 to 60 kDa. Between 40 and 60 kDa six immunogenic proteins were identified: elongation factor-1 alpha (EF-1alpha), protein disulphide isomerase (PDI); phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK); 78 kDa glucose-regulated protein homologue (GRP-78); rhoptry-associated protein 2 (RAP-2) and rhoptry-associated protein 3 (RAP-3). Conclusions: It was identified immunogenic proteins essential for parasite survival in the host, two of which (RAP-2 and RAP-3) are already described in the literature as proteins that play an important role in the invasion of erythrocytes by extracellular merozoites.
Background: One of the best ways to control the transmission of malaria is by breaking the vector-human link, either by reducing the effective population size of mosquitoes or avoiding infective bites. Reducing house entry rates in endophagic vectors by obstructing openings is one simple way of achieving this. Mosquito netting has previously been shown to have this effect. More recently different materials that could also be used have come onto the market. Therefore, a pilot study was conducted to investigate the protective effect of three types of material against Anopheles funestus and Anopheles gambiae s.l entry into village houses in Mozambique when applied over the large opening at the gables and both gables and eaves. Methods: A two-step intervention was implemented in which the gable ends of houses (the largest opening) were covered with one of three materials (four year old mosquito bed nets; locally purchased untreated shade cloth or deltamethrin-impregnated shade cloth) followed by covering both gable ends and eaves with material. Four experimental rounds (each of three weeks duration), from four houses randomly assigned to be a control or to receive one of the three intervention materials, were undertaken from March to August 2010 in the village of Furvela in southern Mozambique. Mosquito entry rates were assessed by light-trap collection and the efficacy of the different materials was determined in terms of incidence rate ratio (IRR), obtained through a Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE), of mosquito entry in a treated house compared to the untreated (control) house. Results: Altogether 9,692 An. funestus and 1,670 An. gambiae s.l. were collected. Houses treated with mosquito netting or the untreated shade cloth had 61.3% [IRR = 0.39 (0.32-0.46); P <0.0001] and 70% [IRR = 0.30 (0.25 -- 0.37); P <0.001] fewer An. funestus in relation to untreated houses, but there was no difference in An. funestus in houses treated with the deltamethrin-impregnated shade cloth [IRR = 0.92 (0.76 --1.12); P = 0.4] compared to untreated houses. Houses treated with mosquito netting reduced entry rates of An. gambiae s.l, by 84% [IRR = 0.16 (0.10 -- 0.25); P <0.001], whilst untreated shade cloth reduced entry rates by 69% [IRR = 0.31 (0.19 --0.53); P <0.001] and entry rates were reduced by 76% [IRR = 0.24 (0.15 0.38); P <0.001] in houses fitted with deltamethrin-impregnated shade cloth.
Background: Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum malaria remain highly endemic in the Pacific Islands including Lihir Island, Papua New Guinea. Lihir Gold Limited is conducting mining activities and funded an integrated vector control intervention within the villages surrounding the mine. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of such programme by comparing the epidemiological trends of malaria in different parts of the island. Methods: Two cross-sectional surveys were conducted before and after the intervention (2006--2010) to determine malaria prevalence in mine-impact (MI) and non-MI areas. Incidence of malaria was estimated for the Lihir Medical Centre catchment area using island population denominators and a health-centre passive case detection ongoing from 2006--2011. Results: A total of 2,264 and 1,653 children < 15 were surveyed in the cross-sectional studies. The prevalence of any malaria parasitaemia initially was 31.5% in MI areas and, 34.9% in non-MI (POR 1.17; 95CI 0.97 -- 1.39). After four years there was a significant reduction in prevalence in the MI areas (5.8%; POR 0.13, 95CI 0.09--0.20), but reduction was less marked in non-MI areas (26.9%; POR 0.69, 95CI 0.58-0.81).28,747 patients were included in the evaluation of incidence trends and overall malaria in local Lihirian population in MI areas declined over time, while it remained at similar high levels among migrants. The age-incidence analysis showed that for each higher age range the malaria incidence declines compared to that of the previous stratum. Conclusions: There was a substantial reduction in prevalence and incidence rates of both P. vivax and P. falciparum in the mining area following implementation of a malaria control intervention, which was not seen in the area outside the mining activities.
Background: Anopheles gambiae, one of the main Afro-tropical mosquito vector of malaria, has adapted to heavy metals in its natural habitat, and developed resistance to most conventional insecticides. Investigations were conducted to establish an association between tolerance to cadmium or lead-heavy metals, and expression of specific genes for cytochrome p450 enzymes associated with pyrethroid resistance in the mosquito. Methods: Juvenile aquatic stages of the mosquito were selected for tolerance to cadmiun or lead through chronic exposure of the stages to maximum acceptable toxicant concentrations (MATCs) of the metals. Using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), three replicates each of male or female cadmium or lead-tolerant individuals and relevant controls were separately screened for expression of CYP6M2, CYP6P3 and CYP6Z1 genes. The variance in expression levels of the genes amongst the treatments was compared by ANOVA statistical tool. Results: Expressions of all the genes were significantly lower (P <0.05) in females than in males. Within gender, there 1.3 - 2.3 or 3.1-4.2-fold reduction in expression of the genes in cadmium or lead selected than respective control populations. Expression of all the classes of gene was elevated in cadmium selected female populations relative to their respective controls. Conclusion: These findings suggest that tolerance to cadmium or lead in the mosquito can influence response in cytochrome p450 genes associated with metabolism of pyrethroids in the mosquito in a sex-specific manner. This can, in turn, affect sensitivity of the mosquito to pyrethroids and other xenobiotics associated with these genes, with potential implications in mosquito vector control operations.
Background: Health workers in sub-Saharan Africa can now diagnose and treat malaria in the field, using rapid diagnostic tests and artemisinin-based combination therapy in areas without microscopy and widespread resistance to previously effective drugs.ObjectiveThis study evaluates communities' perceptions of a new community case management of malaria programme in the district of Saraya, south-eastern Senegal, the effectiveness of lay health worker trainings, and the availability of rapid diagnostic tests and artemisinin-based combination therapy in the field. Methods: The study employed qualitative and quantitative methods including focus groups with villagers, and pre- and post-training questionnaires with lay health workers. Results: Communities approved of the community case management programme, but expressed concern about other general barriers to care, particularly transportation challenges. Most lay health workers acquired important skills, but a sizeable minority did not understand the rapid diagnostic test algorithm and were not able to correctly prescribe arteminisin-based combination therapy soon after the training. Further, few women lay health workers participated in the programme. Finally, the study identified stock-outs of rapid tests and anti-malaria medication products in over half of the programme sites two months after the start of the programme, thought due to a regional shortage. Conclusion: This study identified barriers to implementation of the community case management of malaria programme in Saraya that include lay health worker training, low numbers of women participants, and generalized stock-outs. These barriers warrant investigation into possible solutions of relevance to community case management generally.