The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1475-2875-11-84) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
AW contributed to conception and design, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretation of data, and drafting the manuscript. WD contributed to conception and design of the study and reviewed the manuscript. AA contributed to conception and design of the study and reviewed the manuscript. BL contributed to conception and design, analysis and interpretation of data, and reviewed the manuscript. BL, AA, WD and AW reviewed the paper and all authors approved the final version.
In 2005, the Ethiopian government launched a massive expansion of the malaria prevention and control programme. The programme was aimed mainly at the reduction of malaria in populations living below 2,000 m above sea level. Global warming has been implicated in the increase in the prevalence of malaria in the highlands. However, there is still a paucity of information on the occurrence of malaria at higher altitudes. The objective of this study was to estimate malaria prevalence in highland areas of south-central Ethiopia, designated as the Butajira area.
Using a multi-stage sampling technique, 750 households were selected. All consenting family members were examined for malaria parasites in thick and thin blood smears. The assessment was repeated six times for two years (October 2008 to June 2010).
In total, 19,207 persons were examined in the six surveys. From those tested, 178 slides were positive for malaria, of which 154 (86.5%) were positive for Plasmodium vivax and 22 (12.4%) for Plasmodium falciparum; the remaining two (1.1%) showed mixed infections of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. The incidence of malaria was higher after the main rainy season, both in lower lying and in highland areas. The incidence in the highlands was low and similar for all age groups, whereas in the lowlands, malaria occurred mostly in those of one to nine years of age.
This study documented a low prevalence of malaria that varied with season and altitudinal zone in a highland-fringe area of Ethiopia. Most of the malaria infections were attributable to Plasmodium vivax.
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- Prevalence of malaria infection in Butajira area, south-central Ethiopia
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