Research Article: Predictors of Plasmodium falciparum Malaria Incidence in Chano Mille, South Ethiopia: A Longitudinal Study

Date Published: September 05, 2012

Publisher: The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

Author(s): Eskindir Loha, Bernt Lindtjørn.


We assessed potential effects of local meteorological and environmental conditions, indoor residual spraying with insecticides, insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) use at individual and community levels, and individual factors on Plasmodium falciparum malaria incidence in a village in south Ethiopia. A cohort of 8,121 people was followed for 101 weeks with active and passive surveillance. Among 317 microscopically confirmed P. falciparum malaria episodes, 29.3% occurred among temporary residents. The incidence density was 3.6/10,000 person-weeks of observation. We observed higher malaria incidence among males, children 5–14 years of age, ITNs non-users, the poor, and people who lived closer to vector breeding places. Rainfall increased and indoor residual spraying with Deltamethrin reduced falciparum incidence. Although ITNs prevented falciparum malaria for the users, we did not find that free mass ITNs distribution reduced falciparum malaria on a village level.

Partial Text

Malaria is a major public health problem in Ethiopia, and in 2011 about two-thirds of the population was at risk of malaria.1 Results of the 2007 national malaria indicator survey showed prevalence of 0.7% and 0.3% of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax malaria, respectively2; the dominant vector is Anopheles arabiensis. Indoor residual spraying (IRS) with insecticides has been used since 1960, and distribution of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) to all age groups and provision of free artemisinin-based combination therapy were in use since 2004.1

During the 101 weeks of follow-up, there were 2,573 microscopically screened febrile episodes. Of these, 624 (24.3%) were microscopically confirmed malaria episodes; falciparum and vivax malaria accounted for 317 (50.8%) and 307 (49.2%) episodes, respectively. The pattern of malaria occurrence over the whole study period is shown in Figure 3. Descriptive statistics of meteorological variables and malaria episodes are presented in Table 1.

The incidence of falciparum malaria was 3.57/10,000 person-weeks of observation. Of all falciparum malaria episodes, 29.1% were among temporary residents or visitors. Total rainfall, IRS with Deltamethrin, nearness to vector breeding place, sex, age, ITNs use at individual level (not at community level), and wealth index were significant predictors of falciparum malaria.




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