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EY Lukianova-Hleb et al. Hemozoin-generated vapor nanobubbles for transdermal reagent- and needle-free detection of malaria. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

High Impact Journal from Malaria Portal - 31 December 2014 - 12:00am
Successful diagnosis, screening, and elimination of malaria critically depend on rapid and sensitive detection of this dangerous infection, preferably transdermally and without sophisticated reagents or blood drawing. . . .
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KJ Vogel et al. Phylogenetic investigation of Peptide hormone and growth factor receptors in five dipteran genomes. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne)

High Impact Journal from Malaria Portal - 31 December 2014 - 12:00am
Peptide hormones and growth factors bind to membrane receptors and regulate a myriad of processes in insects and other metazoans. . . .
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J Rydzak et al. Human erythrocyte glycophorin C as the receptor for EBA-140 Plasmodium falciparum merozoite ligand. Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online)

High Impact Journal from Malaria Portal - 31 December 2014 - 12:00am
Erythrocyte invasion by the blood-stage Plasmodium falciparum parasites is a multistep process involving specific interactions between parasites and red blood cells. . . .
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R Sundararajan et al. Barriers to Malaria Control among Marginalized Tribal Communities: A Qualitative Study. PLoS One

High Impact Journal from Malaria Portal - 30 December 2014 - 12:00am
Malaria infection accounts for over one million deaths worldwide annually. . . .
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DV Canyon et al. Insights in public health: systems thinking: basic constructs, application challenges, misuse in health, and how public health leaders can pave the way forward. Hawaii J Med Public Health

High Impact Journal from Malaria Portal - 30 December 2014 - 12:00am
The strengthening of health systems is fundamental to improving health outcomes, crisis preparedness, and our capacity to meet global challenges, such as accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, reducing maternal and child mortality, combating HIV, malaria and other diseases, limiting the effects of a new influenza pandemic, and responding appropriately to climate change. . . .
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Efficacy and safety of artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) for non-falciparum malaria: a systematic review

Malaria Journal - 26 November 2014 - 12:00am
Background: Artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) is recommended as first-line treatment for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria, whereas chloroquine is still commonly used for the treatment of non-falciparum species (Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale and Plasmodium malariae). A more simplified, more uniform treatment approach across all malaria species is worthwhile to be considered both in endemic areas and for malaria as an imported condition alike. Methods: A PROSPERO-registered systematic review to determine the efficacy and safety of ACT for the treatment of non-falciparum malaria was conducted, following PRISMA guidelines. Without language restrictions, Medline/PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Web of Science, LILACS, Biosis Previews and the African Index Medicus were searched for studies published up to November 2014. Results: The literature search identified 986 reports; 40 publications were found eligible for inclusion, all of them on non-falciparum malaria in endemic areas. Most evidence was available for P. vivax (n = 35). Five clinical trials in total were identified evaluating ACT for P. ovale, P. malariae and Plasmodium knowlesi. Most ACT presentations have high efficacy against P. vivax parasites; artemisinin-based combinations have shorter parasite and fever clearance times compared to chloroquine. ACT is as effective as chloroquine in preventing recurrent parasitaemia before day 28. Artemisinin-based combinations with long half-lives show significantly fewer recurrent parasitaemia up to day 63. The limited evidence available supports both the use of chloroquine and an ACT for P. ovale and P. malariae. ACT seems to be preferable for optimal treatment of P. knowlesi. Conclusion: ACT is at least equivalent to chloroquine in effectively treating non-falciparum malaria. These findings may facilitate development of simplified protocols for treating all forms of malaria with ACT, including returning travellers. Obtaining comprehensive efficacy and safety data on ACT use for non-falciparum species particularly for P. ovale, P. malariae and P. knowlesi should be a research priority.Trial registration: CRD42014009103
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PET-PCR method for the molecular detection of malaria parasites in a national malaria surveillance study in Haiti, 2011

Malaria Journal - 26 November 2014 - 12:00am
Background: Recently, a real-time PCR assay known as photo-induced electron transfer (PET)-PCR which relies on self-quenching primers for the detection of Plasmodium spp. and Plasmodium falciparum was described. PET-PCR assay was found to be robust, and easier to use when compared to currently available real-time PCR methods. The potential of PET-PCR for molecular detection of malaria parasites in a nationwide malaria community survey in Haiti was investigated. Methods: DNA from the dried blood spots was extracted using QIAGEN methodology. All 2,989 samples were screened using the PET-PCR assay in duplicate. Samples with a cycle threshold (CT) of 40 or less were scored as positive. A subset of the total samples (534) was retested using a nested PCR assay for confirmation. In addition, these same samples were also tested using a TaqMan-based real-time PCR assay. Results: A total of 12 out of the 2,989 samples screened (0.4%) were found to be positive by PET-PCR (mean CT value of 35.7). These same samples were also found to be positive by the nested and TaqMan-based methods. The nested PCR detected an additional positive sample in a subset of 534 samples that was not detected by either PET-PCR or TaqMan-based PCR method. Conclusion: While the nested PCR was found to be slightly more sensitive than the PET-PCR, it is not ideal for high throughput screening of samples. Given the ease of use and lower cost than the nested PCR, the PET-PCR provides an alternative assay for the rapid screening of a large number of samples in laboratory settings.
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The outcome of a test-treat package versus routine outpatient care for Ghanaian children with fever: a pragmatic randomized control trial

Malaria Journal - 26 November 2014 - 12:00am
Background: Over-diagnosis of malaria among African children results in mismanagement of non-malaria infections. Limited laboratory capacity makes it difficult to implement policies that recommend pre-treatment confirmation of infections so a new approach with a package for on-the-spot management of fevers was evaluated. Methods: Febrile children presenting to outpatient clinic were randomized to receive either a 'test-treat' package (history with clinical examination; point-of-care tests; choice of artesunate-amodiaquine, co-amoxiclav and/or paracetamol) or routine outpatient care in a secondary health care facility in Kumasi, Ghana. A diagnosis of malaria, bacterial, viral or mixed malarial and bacterial infections was made using pre-defined criteria. Outcome was resolution of all symptoms including fever on day 7. Results: The median age of the patients was 37.5 months (IQR: 19 to 66 months), with 56.7% being males. Compared to routine care the test-treat package resulted in less diagnoses of malaria, (37.2% vs 46.2%, p = 0.190) and mixed malaria and bacterial infections (14.0% vs 53.8%, p < 0.001) but more diagnoses of viral (33.1% vs 0.0%, p < 0.001) and bacterial infections only (15.7% vs 0.0%, p < 0.001). Less anti-malarials (51.2% vs 100.0%, p < 0.001) and antibiotics (29.7% vs 48.7%, p < 0.001), were prescribed in the test-treat group on completion of study, more test-treat package patients were clinically well (99.2% vs 80.7%, p < 0.001) and febrile (0.8% vs 10.1%, p = 0.001) and less were admitted for inpatient care (0.0% vs 8.4% p = 0.001) compared to the routine care group. Conclusion: Test-treat package improves the effectiveness of outpatient diagnosis and treatment of children with fever and reduces inappropriate prescribing of anti-malarials and antibiotics. The package provides clinicians with the option for immediate diagnosis and treatment of non-malaria fevers. The test-treat package now needs to be evaluated in other settings including primary health care facilities.
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Mating competitiveness of sterile male Anopheles coluzzii in large cages

Malaria Journal - 26 November 2014 - 12:00am
Background: Understanding the factors that account for male mating competitiveness is critical to the development of the sterile insect technique (SIT). Here, the effects of partial sterilization with 90 Gy of radiation on sexual competitiveness of Anopheles coluzzii allowed to mate in different ratios of sterile to untreated males have been assessed. Moreover, competitiveness was compared between males allowed one versus two days of contact with females. Methods: Sterile and untreated males four to six days of age were released in large cages (~1.75 sq m) with females of similar age at the following ratios of sterile males: untreated males: untreated virgin females: 100:100:100, 300:100:100, 500:100:100 (three replicates of each) and left for two days. Competitiveness was determined by assessing the egg hatch rate and the insemination rate, determined by dissecting recaptured females. An additional experiment was conducted with a ratio of 500:100:100 and a mating period of either one or two days. Two controls of 0:100:100 (untreated control) and 100:0:100 (sterile control) were used in each experiment. Results: When males and females consort for two days with different ratios, a significant difference in insemination rate was observed between ratio treatments. The competitiveness index (C) of sterile males compared to controls was 0.53. The number of days of exposure to mates significantly increased the insemination rate, as did the increased number of males present in the untreated: sterile male ratio treatments, but the number of days of exposure did not have any effect on the hatch rate.DiscussionThe comparability of the hatch rates between experiments suggest that An. coluzzii mating competitiveness experiments in large cages could be run for one instead of two days, shortening the required length of the experiment. Sterilized males were half as competitive as untreated males, but an effective release ratio of at least five sterile for one untreated male has the potential to impact the fertility of a wild female population. However, further trials in field conditions with wild males and females should be undertaken to estimate the ratio of sterile males to wild males required to produce an effect on wild populations.
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Epidemiology of malaria in a village in the Rufiji River Delta, Tanzania: declining transmission over 25 years revealed by different parasitological metrics

Malaria Journal - 26 November 2014 - 12:00am
Background: Assessments of the epidemiology of malaria over time are needed to understand changes in transmission and guide control and elimination strategies. Methods: A longitudinal population study was established in 1985 in Nyamisati village in the Rufiji River Delta, Tanzania. A physician and research team lived in the village 1984-2000. Parasite prevalence by microscopy and two PCR methods, spleen rates and haemoglobin levels were measured in repeated cross-sectional surveys between 1985 and 2010. Passive surveillance of malaria cases was maintained until end 1999. Bed nets were distributed after the surveys 1993, 1999 and 2010. Results: In 1985, overall parasite prevalence by microscopy was 70% (90% in children ages two to nine years). The prevalence decreased gradually by microscopy (38.9% 1994, 26.7% 1999) and msp2-PCR (58.7% 1994, 44.8% 1999), whereas real-time PCR prevalence remained higher throughout the 1990s (69.4% 1994, 64.8% 1999). In 2010, parasite prevalence was 17.8% by real-time PCR and 16.3% by msp2-PCR, and estimated to 4.8% by microscopy. Spleen rates in children ages two to nine years decreased earlier than parasite prevalence, from >75 to 42% in the 1980s, to nil during the 1990s. The prevalence of severe and moderate anaemia decreased from 41.1 to 13.1%. No deaths at the time of acute malaria were recorded when the research team lived in the village. Conclusions: A marked decline in malaria transmission was observed over 25 years. The decrease was detected after the arrival of the research team and continued gradually both before and after distribution of bed nets. Spleen rates and microscopy identified early changes when transmission was still intense, whereas real-time PCR was a more sensitive metric when transmission was reduced. The study provides historical data on malaria within a closely monitored rural village and contributes to the understanding of changing epidemiology in sub-Saharan Africa.
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Efficacy and safety of a combination of azithromycin and chloroquine for the treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in two multicountry randomized clinical trials in African adults

Malaria Journal - 25 November 2014 - 12:00am
Background: Given increasing rates of resistance to existing therapy, new options for treatment and prophylaxis of malaria are needed. Methods: Two randomized, comparative, non-inferiority studies were conducted in Africa, one double-blinded and one open-label. Adults with fever, a positive peripheral blood smear, and a positive rapid diagnostic test for Plasmodium falciparum were randomized in both studies to either azithromycin (AZ) 1,000 mg plus chloroquine (CQ) 600-mg base (AZCQ 1,000 mg) once daily for three days or mefloquine hydrochloride (MQ) 1,250 mg (split dose). In the first study, an additional regimen of AZ 500 mg plus CQ 600-mg base (AZCQ 500 mg) once daily for three days was included. All study participants were hospitalized until three consecutive daily blood smears were negative for asexual P. falciparum parasitaemia. Study participants were evaluated weekly for 42 days, with Day 28 polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-corrected parasitological clearance rate as primary endpoint. Results: A total of 467 subjects were randomized in the two studies. At 28 days' follow-up, PCR-corrected parasitological clearance rates in the per protocol population in the first study were 101/103 (98%) with AZCQ 1,000 mg compared with 102/103 (99%) with MQ (95% confidence interval [CI]: -5.2, 3.3). The AZCQ 500-mg regimen was stopped during an interim study review (six [86%] clearance of seven evaluable; two lost to follow-up). In the second study, clearance rates were similar: AZCQ 1,000 mg 107/107 (100%) vs MQ 111/112 (99%; 95% CI: -1.8, 3.6). Among the participating countries, in vitro CQ resistance based on pfcrt mutation frequency in the baseline isolates across both studies ranged from 20.8% (Zambia) to 96.1% (Uganda). Serious adverse events (AEs; all causality) were observed more frequently with MQ compared with AZCQ (four vs one, respectively), though discontinuations for AEs were similar (four vs three, respectively). Common AEs in the AZ-containing arms included pruritus, vomiting, dizziness, and headache. Conclusions: Among adults with symptomatic uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Africa, the combination of AZ 1,000 mg and CQ 600-mg base once daily for three days resulted in Day-28 PCR-corrected parasitological clearance rates of >=98% and was non-inferior to treatment with MQ. AZCQ was well tolerated.Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifiers NCT00082576 and NCT00367653
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Spatio-temporal distribution of malaria and its association with climatic factors and vector-control interventions in two high-risk districts of Nepal

Malaria Journal - 25 November 2014 - 12:00am
Background: Over the last decade, the incidence of confirmed malaria has declined significantly in Nepal. The aim of this paper is to assess the spatio-temporal distribution of malaria and its association with climatic factors and vector control interventions in two high-risk districts of Nepal. Methods: Hotspot analysis was used to visualize the spatio-temporal variation of malaria incidence over the years at village level and generalized additive mixed models were fitted to assess the association of malaria incidence with climatic variables and vector control interventions. Results: Opposing trends of malaria incidence were observed in two high-risk malaria districts of eastern and far-western Nepal after the introduction of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs). The confirmed malaria incidence was reduced from 2.24 per 10,000 in 2007 to 0.31 per 10,000 population in 2011 in Morang district but increased from 3.38 to 8.29 per 10,000 population in Kailali district. Malaria hotspots persisted mostly in the same villages of Kailali district, whereas in Morang district malaria hotspots shifted to new villages after the introduction of LLINs. A 1[degree sign] C increase in minimum and mean temperatures increased malaria incidence by 27% (RR =1.27, 95% CI =1.12-1.45) and 25% (RR =1.25, 95% CI =1.11-1.43), respectively. The reduction in malaria incidence was 25% per one unit increase of LLINs (RR =0.75, 95% CI =0.62-0.92). The incidence of malaria was 82% lower in Morang than in Kailali district (RR =0.18, 95% CI =0.11-0.33). Conclusions: The study findings suggest that LLIN coverage should be scaled up to entire districts rather than high-incidence foci only. Climatic factors should be considered for malaria micro-stratification, mosquito repellents should be prescribed for those living in forests, forest fringe and foothills and have regular visits to forests, and imported cases should be controlled by establishing fever check posts at border crossings.
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Anti-malarial activity of a polyherbal product (Nefang) during early and established Plasmodium infection in rodent models

Malaria Journal - 25 November 2014 - 12:00am
Background: The emerging resistance of Plasmodium species to currently available anti-malarials remains a public health concern, hence the need for new effective, safe and affordable drugs. Natural products remain a reliable source of drugs. Nefang is a polyherbal anti-malarial of the Cameroonian folklore medicine with demonstrated in vitro antiplasmodial and antioxidant activities. It is composed of Mangifera indica (bark and leaf), Psidium guajava, Carica papaya, Cymbopogon citratus, Citrus sinensis, Ocimum gratissimum (leaves). This study aimed at investigating the suppressive, prophylactic and curative activities of Nefang in Plasmodium infected rodent models. Methods: Systemic acute oral toxicity of Nefang aqueous and ethanol extracts was assessed in mice up to a dose of 5,000 mgkg-1 body weight. BALB/c mice and Wistar rats were inoculated with Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi and Plasmodium berghei, respectively, and treated with Nefang, the Mangifera indica bark/Psidium guajava combination and a Psidium guajava leaf aqueous extracts (75, 150, 300 and 600 mgkg-1 bwt). Their schizonticidal activity was then evaluated using the Peter's 4-day suppressive test). The prophylactic and curative (Rane's Test) activity of Nefang was also evaluated by determining the parasitaemia, survival time, body weight and temperature in pre-treated rodents. Results: Acute oral toxicity of the extract did not cause any observed adverse effects. Percent suppressions of parasitaemia at 600 mgkg-1 bwt were as follows (P. berghei/P. chabaudi): Nefang - 82.9/86.3, Mangifera indica bark/Psidium guajava leaf combination extract - 79.5/81.2 and Psidium guajava leaf - 58.9/67.4. Nefang exhibited a prophylactic activity of 79.5% and its chemotherapeutic effects ranged from 61.2 - 86.1% with maximum effect observed at the highest experimental dose. Conclusion: These results indicate that Nefang has excellent in vivo anti-malarial activities against P. berghei and P. chabaudi, upholding earlier in vitro antiplasmodial activities against multi-drug resistant P. falciparum parasites as well as its traditional use. Hence, Nefang represents a promising source of new anti-malarial agents.
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Uptake of intermittent preventive treatment with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine for malaria during pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes: a cross-sectional study in Geita district, North-Western Tanzania

Malaria Journal - 24 November 2014 - 12:00am
Background: Malaria infection during pregnancy is associated with adverse outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa. For this reason, the World Health Organization currently recommends intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp) with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) at each scheduled antenatal care (ANC) visit. In Tanzania, the revised IPTp policy was adopted in 2013 but the level of uptake and its association with pregnancy outcomes remains unknown. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among singleton pregnant women who delivered in two selected health facilities of Geita district, northwestern Tanzania. Self-reported uptake of SP was verified using the ANC card and was recorded. Placental and peripheral blood was collected for diagnosis of malaria by microscopy and rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs). Gestational age was estimated based on last menstrual period or Ballard score. Infant birth weights were recorded within 24 hours of delivery. Results: Of 431 participants, 167 (38.75%), 134 (31.09%), 104 (24.23%), and 26 (6.03%) reported taking none, one, two, and >= three doses of SP during pregnancy, respectively. The uptake of >= three doses of IPTp-SP among delivering women at Geita hospital and Katoro health centre was 9.06% and 1.2%, respectively. The overall prevalence of malaria in pregnancy by RDT, peripheral and placental smears was 19.5%, 29.7% and 37.6% respectively. The prevalence of placental parasitaemia was higher for women who delivered at Katoro Health Centre (41.57%) than those who delivered at Geita hospital (35.09%). The uptake of >= three doses of SP was associated with reduced odds of having placental malaria (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) =0.31, p =0.039) compared to < three doses. Women with placental parasitaemia were five times more likely to have delivered pre-term (AOR =4.67, p =0.002) and had lower mean birth weight infants than their uninfected counterparts (mean difference =82 g, p =0.039). Conclusions: The uptake of >= three doses of IPTp-SP is low in the present study area. Placental parasitaemia is prevalent and is associated with adverse birth outcomes. Receipt of >= three doses of IPTp-SP reduced the odds of placental parasitaemia. Thus, increased efforts towards scale-up and continuous evaluation of IPTp-SP efficacy is recommended.
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A reliable and rapid method for molecular detection of malarial parasites using microwave irradiation and loop mediated isothermal amplification

Malaria Journal - 24 November 2014 - 12:00am
Background: Improved living conditions together with appropriate diagnosis can reduce avoidable malarial deaths substantially. Microscopy remains the gold standard in the diagnosis of malaria. However, rapid molecular diagnostic tests (RmDT) are becoming increasingly important and will, most likely, be the diagnostic techniques of choice in the next years. Methods: In this study, a rapid and reliable nucleic acid extraction procedure from human blood and malarial parasites using microwave irradiation as a promising platform is described. In addition, a tailored loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) methodology that utilizes hydroxynaphthol blue (HNB) and Bst 2.0 DNA polymerases in molecular detection of malarial parasites is described. Results: Following microwave irradiation for DNA isolation, conventional PCR assays were able to detect up to five malaria parasites/mul. The LAMP methodology described here was capable to detect as low as one Plasmodium falciparum parasite/mul after DNA extraction by microwave irradiation. A turnover time of 45 minutes from nucleic acid extraction to final visual read-out was achieved. Conclusions: The described procedure offers a cheap, simple and fast method of molecular detection of malaria parasites. This test can easily be performed in basic laboratories. The methodology has been validated as a proof of concept and has specifically be developed for use at low-resource settings. Such RmDTs may aid health providers to make timely therapeutic interventions in malaria endemic regions.
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Identifying malaria hotspots in Keur Soce health and demographic surveillance site in context of low transmission

Malaria Journal - 24 November 2014 - 12:00am
Background: Malaria is major public health problem in Senegal. In some parts of the country, it occurs almost permanently with a seasonal increase during the rainy season. There is evidence to suggest that the prevalence of malaria in Senegal has decreased considerably during the past few years. Recent data from the Senegalese National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) indicates that the number of malaria cases decrease from 1,500,000 in 2006 to 174,339 in 2010. With the decline of malaria morbidity in Senegal, the characterization of the new epidemiological profile of this disease is crucial for public health decision makers. Methods: SaTScanTM software using the Kulldorf method of retrospective space-time permutation and the Bernoulli purely spatial model was used to identify malaria clusters using confirmed malaria cases in 74 villages. ArcMAp was used to map malaria hotspots. Logistic regression was used to investigate risk factors for malaria hotspots in Keur Soce health and demographic surveillance site. Results: A total of 1,614 individuals in 440 randomly selected households were enrolled. The overall malaria prevalence was 12%. The malaria prevalence during the study period varied from less than 2% to more than 25% from one village to another. The results showed also that rooms located between 50 m to 100 m away from livestock holding place [adjusted O.R = 0.7, P = 0.044, 95%C.I (1.02 - 7.42)], bed net use [adjusted O.R = 1.2, P = 0.024, 95%C.I(1.02 -1.48)], are good predictors for malaria hotspots in the Keur Soce health and demographic surveillance site. The socio economic status of the household also predicted on hotspots patterns. The less poor household are 30% less likely to be classified as malaria hotspots area compared to the poorest household [adjusted O.R = 0.7, P = 0.014, 95%C.I (0.47 - 0.91)] Conclusion: The study investigated risk factors for malaria hotspots in small communities in the Keur Soce site. The result showed considerable variation of malaria prevalence between villages which cannot be detected in aggregated data. The data presented in this paper are the first step to understanding malaria in the Keur Soce site from a micro-geographic perspective.
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Artemisinin resistance - modelling the potential human and economic costs

Malaria Journal - 23 November 2014 - 12:00am
Background: Artemisinin combination therapy is recommended as first-line treatment for falciparum malaria across the endemic world and is increasingly relied upon for treating vivax malaria where chloroquine is failing. Artemisinin resistance was first detected in western Cambodia in 2007, and is now confirmed in the Greater Mekong region, raising the spectre of a malaria resurgence that could undo a decade of progress in control, and threaten the feasibility of elimination. The magnitude of this threat has not been quantified. Methods: This analysis compares the health and economic consequences of two future scenarios occurring once artemisinin-based treatments are available with high coverage. In the first scenario, artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) is largely effective in the management of uncomplicated malaria and severe malaria is treated with artesunate, while in the second scenario ACT are failing at a rate of 30%, and treatment of severe malaria reverts to quinine. The model is applied to all malaria-endemic countries using their specific estimates for malaria incidence, transmission intensity and GDP. The model describes the direct medical costs for repeated diagnosis and retreatment of clinical failures as well as admission costs for severe malaria. For productivity losses, the conservative friction costing method is used, which assumes a limited economic impact for individuals that are no longer economically active until they are replaced from the unemployment pool. Results: Using conservative assumptions and parameter estimates, the model projects an excess of 116,000 deaths annually in the scenario of widespread artemisinin resistance. The predicted medical costs for retreatment of clinical failures and for management of severe malaria exceed US$32 million per year. Productivity losses resulting from excess morbidity and mortality were estimated at US$385 million for each year during which failing ACT remained in use as first-line treatment. Conclusions: These 'ballpark' figures for the magnitude of the health and economic threat posed by artemisinin resistance add weight to the call for urgent action to detect the emergence of resistance as early as possible and contain its spread from known locations in the Mekong region to elsewhere in the endemic world.
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Serological markers for monitoring historical changes in malaria transmission intensity in a highly endemic region of Western Kenya, 1994-2009

Malaria Journal - 22 November 2014 - 12:00am
Background: Monitoring local malaria transmission intensity is essential for planning evidence-based control strategies and evaluating their impact over time. Anti-malarial antibodies provide information on cumulative exposure and have proven useful, in areas where transmission has dropped to low sustained levels, for retrospectively reconstructing the timing and magnitude of transmission reduction. It is unclear whether serological markers are also informative in high transmission settings, where interventions may reduce transmission, but to a level where considerable exposure continues. Methods: This study was conducted through ongoing KEMRI and CDC collaboration. Asembo, in Western Kenya, is an area where intense malaria transmission was drastically reduced during a 1997-1999 community-randomized, controlled insecticide-treated net (ITN) trial. Two approaches were taken to reconstruct malaria transmission history during the period from 1994 to 2009. First, point measurements were calculated for seroprevalence, mean antibody titre, and seroconversion rate (SCR) against three Plasmodium falciparum antigens (AMA-1, MSP-119, and CSP) at five time points for comparison against traditional malaria indices (parasite prevalence and entomological inoculation rate). Second, within individual post-ITN years, age-stratified seroprevalence data were analysed retrospectively for an abrupt drop in SCR by fitting alternative reversible catalytic conversion models that allowed for change in SCR. Results: Generally, point measurements of seroprevalence, antibody titres and SCR produced consistent patterns indicating that a gradual but substantial drop in malaria transmission (46-70%) occurred from 1994 to 2007, followed by a marginal increase beginning in 2008 or 2009. In particular, proportionate changes in seroprevalence and SCR point estimates (relative to 1994 baseline values) for AMA-1 and CSP, but not MSP-119, correlated closely with trends in parasite prevalence throughout the entire 15-year study period. However, retrospective analyses using datasets from 2007, 2008 and 2009 failed to detect any abrupt drop in transmission coinciding with the timing of the 1997-1999 ITN trial. Conclusions: In this highly endemic area, serological markers were useful for generating accurate point estimates of malaria transmission intensity, but not for retrospective analysis of historical changes. Further investigation, including exploration of different malaria antigens and/or alternative models of population seroconversion, may yield serological tools that are more informative in high transmission settings.
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