BACKGROUND: A marked decline in malaria morbidity and mortality has been reported after the introduction of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) in high malaria prevalence countries in Africa. Data on the impact of ACT and on the prevalence of malaria has so far been scarce for Southwest Tanzania.
METHODS: Between 2005 and 2011, a large general population cohort in the Mbeya Region in the south-west of Tanzania has been surveyed within the EMINI-study (Evaluation and Monitoring of the Impact of New Interventions). Participants were examined once per year, including rapid diagnostic testing for malaria. ACT was introduced in the region according to national guidelines in the time period 2006/2007, replacing sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine as first-line therapy. In four study sites, 6773 individuals who participated in the first two of three consecutive survey visits in the period from 2006 to 2009 were included in this analysis. The prevalence of Plasmodium infection prior to and after the introduction of ACT was compared by logistic regression, with consideration of climatic variability, age, sex, socio-economic status and bed net use as potential confounders.
RESULTS: A significant reduction over time in the prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum infection from 2.5 to 0.3% was shown across the four study sites. The decline was not explained by other factors included in the analysis, therefore, the decline over time most likely reflects the impact of introduction of ACT in the study area.
CONCLUSIONS: The longitudinal study showed a significant and relevant decline in the prevalence of P. falciparum infection after introduction of ACT, which could not be explained by potential confounders. The data suggests that artemisinin-based combinations are not only an effective instrument for reduction of immediate morbidity and mortality, but also for reduction of transmission rates.
- Aged, 80 and over
- Antimalarials/therapeutic use
- Artemisinins/therapeutic use
- Child, Preschool
- Drug Combinations
- Infant, Newborn
- Longitudinal Studies
- Malaria, Falciparum/epidemiology
- Middle Aged
- Young Adult