The urban–rural designation has been an important risk factor in infectious disease epidemiology. Many studies rely on a politically determined dichotomization of rural versus urban spaces, which fails to capture the complex mosaic of infrastructural, social and environmental factors driving risk. Such evaluation is especially important for Plasmodium transmission and malaria disease. To improve targeting of anti-malarial interventions, a continuous composite measure of urbanicity using spatially-referenced data was developed to evaluate household-level malaria risk from a house-to-house survey of children in Malawi.
Standard treatment for both uncomplicated and severe malaria is artemisinin derivatives. Delayed parasite clearance times preceded the appearance of artemisinin treatment failures in Southeast Asia. Most worldwide malaria cases are in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where clinically significant artemisinin resistance or treatment failure has not yet been detected. The recent emergence of a resistance-conferring genetic mutation in the Plasmodium falciparum parasite in Africa warrants continued monitoring throughout the continent.
As countries of sub-Saharan Africa expand irrigation to improve food security and foster economic growth, it is important to quantify the malaria risk associated with this process. Irrigated ecosystems can be associated with increased malaria risk, but this relationship is not fully understood. We studied this relationship at the Bwanje Valley Irrigation Scheme (800 hectares) in Malawi.
Balancing blood supply safety and sufficiency is challenging in malaria-endemic countries where the risk of transfusion-transmitted malaria (TTM) is ever-present. In support of reducing this risk, our study aimed at evaluating the performance of the Sysmex XN-31 analyser in blood donor malaria screening, as compared with current practice in Malawi.
Understanding the blood feeding preferences and resting habits of malaria vectors is important for assessing and designing effective malaria vector control tools. The presence of livestock, such as cattle, which are used as blood meal hosts by some malaria vectors, may impact malaria parasite transmission dynamics. The presence of livestock may provide sufficient blood meals for the vectors, thereby reducing the frequency of vectors biting humans. Alternatively, the presence of cattle may enhance the availability of blood meals such that infectious mosquitoes may survive longer, thereby increasing the risk of malaria transmission. This study assessed the effect of household-level cattle presence and distribution on the abundance of indoor and outdoor resting malaria vectors.
Plasmodium falciparum malaria dominates throughout sub-Saharan Africa, but the prevalence of P. malariae, P. ovale spp., and P. vivax increasingly contribute to infection in countries which control malaria using P. falciparum-specific diagnostic and treatment strategies.
Intermittent preventive treatment of malaria during pregnancy (IPTp) with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) provides greater protection from placental malaria than sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP). Some studies suggest placental malaria alters the risk of malaria infection in infants, but few studies have quantified the effect of IPTp on infant susceptibility to malaria.
House improvement (HI) to prevent mosquito house entry, and larval source management (LSM) targeting aquatic mosquito stages to prevent development into adult forms, are promising complementary interventions to current malaria vector control strategies. Lack of evidence on costs and cost-effectiveness of community-led implementation of HI and LSM has hindered wide-scale adoption. This study presents an incremental cost analysis of community-led implementation of HI and LSM, in a cluster-randomized, factorial design trial, in addition to standard national malaria control interventions in a rural area (25,000 people), in southern Malawi.
Individuals acquire immunity to clinical malaria after repeated Plasmodium falciparum infections. Immunity to disease is thought to reflect the acquisition of a repertoire of responses to multiple alleles in diverse parasite antigens. In previous studies, we identified polymorphic sites within individual antigens that are associated with parasite immune evasion by examining antigen allele dynamics in individuals followed longitudinally.
Current standard interventions are not universally sufficient for malaria elimination. The effects of community-based house improvement (HI) and larval source management (LSM) as supplementary interventions to the Malawi National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) interventions were assessed in the context of an intensive community engagement programme.