A country-wide malaria survey in Mozambique. I. Plasmodium falciparum infection in children in different epidemiological settings

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Abstract

Background. Across tropical Africa the bulk of malaria-related morbidity and mortality is particularly high during childhood. Classical malariometric surveys have relied on assessing malaria infection prevalence. The last comprehensive evaluation of the malaria situation in Mozambique was carried out during the 1950s. This study aims to characterize the malaria transmission intensities and to estimate the disease burden that may help guide control programme. Methods. Between February 2002 and April 2003, a house-to-house survey, was carried out in 24 districts randomly selected. A total of 8,816 children aged below 10 years old were enrolled. Finger prick and blood collection were performed to prepare thick and thin films for malaria parasite species identification, density and haemoglobin concentration. Axillary temperature was also measured. Prevalence of infection, parasite density and anaemia were estimated for age groups category in each region/stratum. Comparisons between proportions were made using Chi-square test or Fisher exact. Relationship between age groups, region/stratum and parasite prevalence, density was determined using linear regression. All survey mean estimations were adjusted for sampling weights, clustering and stratification. Results. Malaria parasite prevalence was 58.9% (5.190/8.816), the majority of blood smears 52.4% (4,616/8,816) were due to Plasmodium falciparum and geometric mean parasite density was 1,211 parasites/μl (95% CI, 1,141 - 1.286). Gametocytes prevalence, only for P. falciparum was 5.6% (518/8,816). The burden was highest in the northern regions and in the coastal stratum. Parasite infection and geometric mean parasite density peaked during the second year of life and thereafter decreased with increasing age. Mean haemoglobin concentrations was 9.9 g/dl (95% CI 9.5 - 10.2). Anaemia prevalence was 69.8% (6.257/8.816) and among anaemic children 11.5% (743/6.257) were severely anaemic. Anaemia rose dramatically during the first year of life to peak among children in the 12 - 23 months age group. Highest levels of anaemia were recorded in both northern and central-northern regions 77.9% and 79.4% respectively. Conclusion. This survey confirms that malaria especially that caused by P. falciparum, remains endemic throughout the country. The burden of malaria disease and anaemia-related malaria during childhood constitute a major public health problem and warrant integrated and collaborative interventions towards its control. © 2008 Mabunda et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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Mabunda, S., Casimiro, S., Quinto, L., & Alonso, P. (2008). A country-wide malaria survey in Mozambique. I. Plasmodium falciparum infection in children in different epidemiological settings. Malaria Journal, 7. https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2875-7-216

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