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01.12.2018 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

Malaria Journal 1/2018

Reactive case detection of Plasmodium falciparum in western Kenya highlands: effective in identifying additional cases, yet limited effect on transmission

Malaria Journal > Ausgabe 1/2018
Ebenezer K. Aidoo, Yaw A. Afrane, Maxwell Gesuge Machani, Winnie Chebore, Bernard Walter Lawson, Harrysone Atieli, Simon Kariuki, Ming-Chieh Lee, Cristian Koepfli, Guofa Zhou, Andrew K. Githeko, Guiyun Yan



Identifying asymptomatic reservoirs of malaria parasites using index cases as entry points into the community is potentially a cost-effective way towards achieving malaria elimination.


Within 1 year, 1430 confirmed malaria cases were identified in Marani hospital, western Kenya. Fifty cases were followed up, and 108 index case household members and 612 neighbours within a 100 m radius were screened. As controls, samples were collected from 510 individuals matched with index cases and located at a distance of ≥ 500 m from them. Infections were diagnosed by microscopy and PCR while simultaneously collecting malaria vectors indoor using pyrethrum spray catches.


In the index case and neighbour households, the prevalence of infection was approximately twice as high as in control households (by PCR: index cases households: 28.9%, neighbours: 25.3%, matched controls: 12.9%). In index case households, the indoor vector density (Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles funestus) was higher (0.46 female/house/night) than in neighbouring (0.31 f/h/n) and control houses (0.29 f/h/n).


Screening index case households and neighbours approximately doubles the chance to detect asymptomatic infections compared to randomly selected households. However, even if all cases were followed up, only a small proportion (˂ 10%) of the asymptomatic reservoir in the population would have been identified. Control programmes need to weigh the increased chance to find cases around index cases vs. the logistical challenges to target this subgroup within the population.
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