Subclinical Plasmodium falciparum infections act as year-round reservoir for malaria in the hypoendemic Chittagong Hill districts of Bangladesh

Kerry L. Shannon, Wasif A. Khan, David Allen Sack, M. Shafiul Alam, Sabeena Ahmed, Chai Shwai Prue, Jacob Khyang, Malathi Ram, M. Zahirul Haq, Jasmin Akter, Gregory E. Glass, Timothy M Shields, Sean R. Galagan, Myaing M. Nyunt, David J Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives An analysis of the risk factors and seasonal and spatial distribution of individuals with subclinical malaria in hypoendemic Bangladesh was performed. Methods From 2009 to 2012, active malaria surveillance without regard to symptoms was conducted on a random sample (n = 3971) and pregnant women (n = 589) during a cohort malaria study in a population of 24 000. Results The overall subclinical Plasmodium falciparum malaria point prevalence was 1.0% (n = 35), but was 3.2% (n = 18) for pregnant women. The estimated incidence was 39.9 per 1000 person-years for the overall population. Unlike symptomatic malaria, with a marked seasonal pattern, subclinical infections did not show a seasonal increase during the rainy season. Sixty-nine percent of those with subclinical P. falciparum infections reported symptoms commonly associated with malaria compared to 18% without infection. Males, pregnant women, jhum cultivators, and those living closer to forests and at higher elevations had a higher prevalence of subclinical infection. Conclusions Hypoendemic subclinical malaria infections were associated with a number of household and demographic factors, similar to symptomatic cases. Unlike clinical symptomatic malaria, which is highly seasonal, these actively detected infections were present year-round, made up the vast majority of infections at any given time, and likely acted as reservoirs for continued transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-169
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume49
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

Keywords

  • Asymptomatic
  • Epidemiology
  • Malaria
  • Rapid diagnostic test
  • Subclinical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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