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Asymptomatic Malaria—A Missed Opportunity in the Planned 2030 Malaria Elimination Programme in Ethiopia

Askale Ameha, Getachew Redae Taffere, Dawit Zenebe


Background: Malaria intervention in Ethiopia has been strengthened significantly in the past decade with significant reduction in incidence and prevalence. However, continuous surveillance on malaria disease incidence was suggested for effective control and elimination. In difference to this suggestion, malaria elimination programme in the country is missing asymptomatic malaria as a prime target. Thus, the aim of this study was to determine prevalence of asymptomatic malaria and associated factors in school children residing in malaria endemic areas of northern Ethiopia. Method: Institutional based cross-sectional study was conducted among grade one to eight school age children in 2016/17 academic year in Abergele district, Ethiopia. Subjects were selected based on absence of clinical symptom, malaria disease and treatment in the last two weeks. Four hundred twenty-two students were selected following multi-stage sampling technique. Assent was received from their parents/guardians and participated willingly. Sterile blood lancet was used to prick disinfected thumb examination was done based on standard operating procedure for rapid diagnostic test (RDT) and result was confirmed against microscope in Abergele district before actual data collection and there was no discordant. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 16 software and associations between the independent and dependent variables were measured and tested using OR at 95% CI and p< 0.05. Results: The prevalence of asymptomatic malaria was 5.7%. Individuals who had no history of malaria were 70% (AOR= 0.24, 95% CI; 0.07–0.81) less likely to have asymptomatic malaria as compared to those who had. Besides, households with more than eight family members were 92% (AOR=0.08, 95%; CI (0.01–0.71) times more likely to have asymptomatic malaria as compared to those with 1–4 family members. Conclusion: Family size and history of malaria were found to be associated significantly with asymptomatic malaria. Despite the RDT criticisms elsewhere, the method is mostly in use in the country suggesting due focus on the burden of asymptomatic malaria in this study. However, further assessment using more sensitive methods considering different age groups and malaria transmission season is required to affect the elimination plan in the country.


Keywords: Malaria elimination, asymptomatic malaria, rapid diagnostic test, Ethiopia

Cite this Article

Askale Ameha, Getachew RedaeTaffere, Dawit Zenebe. Asymptomatic Malaria—A Missed Opportunity in the Planned 2030 Malaria Elimination Programme in Ethiopia. Research & Reviews: A Journal of Immunology. 2019; 9(1): 4–9p.

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