Health facility-based records offer a rich source of information to understand trends and changes in malaria cases over time. This study is aimed at determining the changes in malaria occurrence over the last 28 years, from 1989 to 2016 in Dakar, Senegal.
The Senegal National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) introduced home-based malaria management for all ages, with diagnosis by rapid diagnostic test (RDT) and treatment with artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) in 2008, expanding to over 2000 villages nationwide by 2014. With prise en charge à domicile (PECADOM), community health workers (CHWs) were available for community members to seek care, but did not actively visit households to find cases.
In 2006, the Senegalese National Malaria Control Programme recommended artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) with artemether–lumefantrine as the first-line treatment for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. To date, multiple mutations associated with artemisinin delayed parasite clearance have been described in Southeast Asia in the Pfk13 gene, such as Y493H, R539T, I543T and C580Y. Even though ACT remains clinically and parasitologically efficacious in Senegal, the spread of resistance is possible as shown by the earlier emergence of resistance to chloroquine in Southeast Asia that subsequently spread to Africa. Therefore, surveillance of artemisinin resistance in malaria endemic regions is crucial and requires the implementation of sensitive tools, such as next-generation sequencing (NGS) which can detect novel mutations at low frequency.
Malaria surveillance requires powerful tools and strategies to achieve malaria elimination. Rapid diagnostic tests for malaria (RDTs) are easily deployed on a large scale and are helpful sources of parasite DNA. The application of sensitive molecular techniques to these RDTs is a modern tool for improving malaria case detection and drug resistance surveillance. Several studies have made it possible to extract the DNA of Plasmodium falciparum from RDTs. The knowledge of gametocyte carriage in the population is important to better assess the level of parasite transmission in elimination settings. The aim of this study was to detect P. falciparum gametocytes from used RDTs by quantitative PCR for molecular monitoring of malaria transmission.
Northern Senegal is a zone of very low malaria transmission, with an annual incidence of < 5/1000 inhabitants. This area, where the Senegal National Malaria Control Programme has initiated elimination activities, hosts Fulani, nomadic, pastoralists that spend the dry season in the south where malaria incidence is higher (150–450/1000 inhabitants) and return to the north with the first rains. Previous research demonstrated parasite prevalence of < 1% in this Fulani population upon return from the south, similar to that documented in the north in cross-sectional surveys.