The malaria burden of Amerindian groups of three Venezuelan states: a descriptive study based on programmatic data

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Fifty-three percent of all cases of malaria in the Americas in 2019 came from Venezuela, where the epidemic is heavily focused south of the Orinoco river, and where most of the country's Amerindian groups live. Although the disease is known to represent a significant public health problem among these populations, little epidemiological data exists on the subject. This study aims to provide information on malaria incidence, geospatial clustering, and risk factors associated to Plasmodium falciparum infection among these groups. METHODS: This is a descriptive study based on the analysis of published and unpublished programmatic data collected by Venezuelan health authorities and non-government organizations between 2014 and 2018. The Annual Parasite Index among indigenous groups (API-i) in municipalities of three states (Amazonas, Bolivar, and Sucre) were calculated and compared using the Kruskal Wallis test, risk factors for Plasmodium falciparum infection were identified via binomial logistic regression and maps were constructed to identify clusters of malaria cases among indigenous patients via Moran's I and Getis-Ord's hot spot analysis. RESULTS: 116,097 cases of malaria in Amerindian groups were registered during the study period. An increasing trend was observed between 2014 and 2016 but reverted in 2018. Malaria incidence remains higher than in 2014 and hot spots were identified in the three states, although more importantly in the south of Bolivar. Most cases (73.3%) were caused by Plasmodium vivax, but the Hoti, Yanomami, and Eñepa indigenous groups presented higher odds for infection with Plasmodium falciparum. CONCLUSION: Malaria cases among Amerindian populations increased between 2014 and 2018 and seem to have a different geographic distribution than those among the general population. These findings suggest that tailored interventions will be necessary to curb the impact of malaria transmission in these groups.

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Gabaldón-Figueira, J. C., Chaccour, C., Moreno, J., Villegas, M., & Villegas, L. (2021). The malaria burden of Amerindian groups of three Venezuelan states: a descriptive study based on programmatic data. Malaria Journal, 20(1), 285. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12936-021-03819-7

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