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Open Access Potential threat of malaria epidemics in a low transmission area, as exemplified by São Tomé

By Príncipe, Pei-wen Lee, Chia-tai Liu, Virgilio E Do Rosario, Bruno De Sousa, Herodes Sacramento Rampao and Men-fang Shaio


Background: Plasmodium falciparum is the major cause of malaria infection in the island of São Tomé, in the Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe (STP), with an incidence of 40- 50 % before 2004. Since 2004, through the coordination of the Ministry of Health of STP and their Centro Nacional de Endemias (CNE), an integrated malaria control programme has been intensively deployed on the island of São Tomé. Malaria morbidity and mortality decreased by 95 % after three years of effective intervention. In the low transmission settings, however, malaria seasonal fluctuation can be a potential problem directly related to epidemics if ongoing control measures are interrupted. Studies on a number of associated factors with malaria epidemics and the measures taken to respond to outbreaks are presented. Methods: The integrated malaria control programme included indoor residual spraying (IRS), long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs), intermittent preventive therapy for pregnant women, as well as early diagnosis and prompt treatment with artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT). Regular implementation of an island-wide IRS programme was carried out yearly in 2004-2007, and enhanced throughout the island in 2009. Malaria incidence and prevalence were estimated based on passive case detection and mass screening, respectively. Slide positivity rates were used for monitoring the beginning of a malaria epidemic or a seasonal peak

Year: 2013
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