Heterogeneous malaria transmission in long-term Afghan refugee populations: A cross-sectional study in five refugee camps in northern Pakistan

Sobia Wahid, Gillian H. Stresman, Syed Sajid Kamal, Nuno Sepulveda, Immo Kleinschmidt, Teun Bousema, Chris Drakeley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Afghan refugees in northern Pakistan have been resident for over 30 years and current information on malaria in this population is sparse. Understanding malaria risk and distribution in refugee camps is important for effective management both in camps and on return to Afghanistan. Methods: Cross-sectional malariometric surveys were conducted in five Afghan refugee camps to determine infection and exposure to both Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. Factors associated with malaria infection and exposure were analysed using logistic regression, and spatial heterogeneity within camps was investigated with SatScan. Results: In this low-transmission setting, prevalence of infection in the five camps ranged from 0-0.2 to 0.4-9 % by rapid diagnostic test and 0-1.39 and 5-15 % by polymerase chain reaction for P. falciparum and P. vivax, respectively. Prevalence of anti-malarial antibodies to P. falciparum antigens was 3-11 and 17-45 % for P. vivax antigens. Significant foci of P. vivax infection and exposure were detected in three of the five camps. Hotspots of P. falciparum were also detected in three camps, only one of which also showed evidence of P. vivax hotspots. Conclusions: There is low and spatially heterogeneous malaria transmission in the refugee camps in northern Pakistan. Understanding malaria risk in refugee camps is important so the malaria risk faced by these populations in the camps and upon their return to Afghanistan can be effectively managed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1305
JournalMalaria Journal
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 27 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Afghan refugees
  • Hotspots of exposure
  • Malaria transmission
  • Pakistan
  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • Plasmodium vivax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Parasitology

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