The detection of cryptic Plasmodium infection among villagers in Attapeu province, Lao PDR.
ABSTRACT: Although the malaria burden in the Lao PDR has gradually decreased, the elimination of malaria by 2030 presents many challenges. Microscopy and malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are used to diagnose malaria in the Lao PDR; however, some studies have reported the prevalence of sub-microscopic Plasmodium infections or asymptomatic Plasmodium carriers in endemic areas. Thus, highly sensitive detection methods are needed to understand the precise malaria situation in these areas.A cross-sectional malaria field survey was conducted in 3 highly endemic malaria districts (Xaysetha, Sanamxay, Phouvong) in Attapeu province, Lao PDR in 2015, to investigate the precise malaria endemicity in the area; 719 volunteers from these villages participated in the survey. Microscopy, RDTs and a real-time nested PCR were used to detect Plasmodium infections and their results were compared. A questionnaire survey of all participants was also conducted to estimate risk factors of Plasmodium infection. Numbers of infections detected by the three methods were microscopy: P. falciparum (n = 1), P. vivax (n = 2); RDTs: P. falciparum (n = 2), P. vivax (n = 3); PCR: Plasmodium (n = 47; P. falciparum [n = 4], P. vivax [n = 41], mixed infection [n = 2]; 6.5%, 47/719). Using PCR as a reference, the sensitivity and specificity of microscopy were 33.3% and 100.0%, respectively, for detecting P. falciparum infection, and 7.0% and 100.0%, for detecting P. vivax infection. Among the 47 participants with parasitemia, only one had a fever (?37.5°C) and 31 (66.0%) were adult males. Risk factors of Plasmodium infection were males and soldiers, whereas a risk factor of asymptomatic Plasmodium infection was a history of ?3 malaria episodes.There were many asymptomatic Plasmodium carriers in the study areas of Attapeu province in 2015. Adult males, probably soldiers, were at high risk for malaria infection. P. vivax, the dominant species, accounted for 87.2% of the Plasmodium infections among the participants. To achieve malaria elimination in the Lao PDR, highly sensitive diagnostic tests, including PCR-based diagnostic methods should be used, and plans targeting high-risk populations and elimination of P. vivax should be designed and implemented.
Project description:The aim of this paper is to review multi-country evidence of private sector adherence to national regulations, guidelines, and quality-assurance standards for malaria case management and to document current coverage of private sector engagement and support through ACTwatch outlet surveys implemented in 2015 and 2016.Over 76,168 outlets were screened, and approximately 6500 interviews were conducted (Cambodia, N = 1303; the Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR), N = 724; Myanmar, N = 4395; and Thailand, N = 74). There was diversity in the types of private sector outlets providing malaria treatment across countries, and the extent to which they were authorized to test and treat for malaria differed. Among outlets stocking at least one anti-malarial, public sector availability of the first-line treatment for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum or Plasmodium vivax malaria was >75%. In the anti-malarial stocking private sector, first-line treatment availability was variable (Cambodia, 70.9%; the Lao PDR, 40.8%; Myanmar P. falciparum = 42.7%, P. vivax = 19.6%; Thailand P. falciparum = 19.6%, P. vivax = 73.3%), as was availability of second-line treatment (the Lao PDR, 74.9%; Thailand, 39.1%; Myanmar, 19.8%; and Cambodia, 0.7%). Treatment not in the National Treatment Guidelines (NTGs) was most common in Myanmar (35.8%) and Cambodia (34.0%), and was typically stocked by the informal sector. The majority of anti-malarials distributed in Cambodia and Myanmar were first-line P. falciparum or P. vivax treatments (90.3% and 77.1%, respectively), however, 8.8% of the market share in Cambodia was treatment not in the NTGs (namely chloroquine) and 17.6% in Myanmar (namely oral artemisinin monotherapy). In the Lao PDR, approximately 9 in 10 anti-malarials distributed in the private sector were second-line treatments-typically locally manufactured chloroquine. In Cambodia, 90% of anti-malarials were distributed through outlets that had confirmatory testing available. Over half of all anti-malarial distribution was by outlets that did not have confirmatory testing available in the Lao PDR (54%) and Myanmar (59%). Availability of quality-assured rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) amongst the RDT-stocking public sector ranged from 99.3% in the Lao PDR to 80.1% in Cambodia. In Cambodia, the Lao PDR, and Myanmar, less than 50% of the private sector reportedly received engagement (access to subsidized commodities, supervision, training or caseload reporting), which was most common among private health facilities and pharmacies.Findings from this multi-country study suggest that Cambodia, the Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Thailand are generally in alignment with national regulations, treatment guidelines, and quality-assurance standards. However, important gaps persist in the private sector which pose a threat to national malaria control and elimination goals. Several options are discussed to help align the private sector anti-malarial market with national elimination strategies.
Project description:As countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) increasingly focus their malaria control and elimination efforts on reducing forest-related transmission, greater understanding of the relationship between deforestation and malaria incidence will be essential for programs to assess and meet their 2030 elimination goals. Leveraging village-level health facility surveillance data and forest cover data in a spatio-temporal modeling framework, we found evidence that deforestation is associated with short-term increases, but long-term decreases confirmed malaria case incidence in Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). We identified strong associations with deforestation measured within 30 km of villages but not with deforestation in the near (10 km) and immediate (1 km) vicinity. Results appear driven by deforestation in densely forested areas and were more pronounced for infections with <i>Plasmodium falciparum</i> (<i>P. falciparum</i>) than for <i>Plasmodium vivax</i> (<i>P. vivax</i>). These findings highlight the influence of forest activities on malaria transmission in the GMS.
Project description:A large fraction of Plasmodium infections do not cause clinical signs and symptoms of disease and persist at densities in blood that are not detectable by microscopy or rapid diagnostic tests. These infections may be critical as a transmission reservoir in areas of low malaria endemicity. Understanding the epidemiology of these infections would be helpful for malaria elimination.A cross-sectional survey was conducted in Thapangthong and Nong Districts of Savannakhet Province, Lao PDR, to determine the prevalence of parasitaemia. A total of 888 blood samples were collected from afebrile volunteers aged ?15 years in 18 villages during March and July 2015. Plasmodium infections were diagnosed by rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) and high volume, ultra-sensitive quantitative polymerase chain reaction (uPCR).uPCR detected Plasmodium infections in 175 of 888 samples (20 %). The species distribution was Plasmodium falciparum 3.6 % (32/888), Plasmodium vivax 11.1 % (99/888), mixed infections with P. falciparum and P. vivax 1.6 % (14/888) and Plasmodium of undetermined species 3.4 % (30/888). RDT identified only 2 % (18/888) positive cases. Using uPCR as reference, the sensitivity and specificity of RDTs were 28 and 100 %, respectively, in detecting P. falciparum infections, and 3 and 99 % in detecting asymptomatic P. vivax infections. The K13 kelch propeller domain C580Y mutation, associated with reduced susceptibility to artemisinin derivatives, was found in 75 % (12/18) of P. falciparum isolates from Thapangthong and in 7 % (2/28) from Nong (p < 0.001). In a multivariate analysis, males were more likely to have P. vivax infections [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 4.76 (95 % CI 2.84-8.00)] while older villagers were at lower risk for parasitaemia [aOR for increasing age 0.98 (95 % CI 0.96-0.99)].There is a high prevalence of asymptomatic Plasmodium infections in southern Savannakhet. Artemisinin-resistant P. falciparum strains form an increasing proportion of the parasite population in Thapangthong District and are already present in the more remote Nong District. This worrying trend has wider implications for Laos and could reverse the gains achieved by the successful control of malaria in Laos and the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS). Rapid elimination of P. falciparum has to be a top priority in Laos as well as in the wider GMS.
Project description:Lao People Democratic Republic (PDR; Laos), a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, has made important progress in reducing malaria morbidity and mortality in the past 5-6 years, and the northern provinces have very low reported incidence. To support national progress towards elimination, it is critical to verify and understand these changes in disease burden.A two-stage cluster cross-sectional survey was conducted in four districts within four northern provinces (Khua, Phongsaly Province; Paktha, Bokeo Province; Nambak, Luang Prabang, and Muang Et, Huaphanh Province). During September and October 2016, demographics and malaria risk factors were collected from a total of 1492 households. A total of 5085 persons consented to collection of blood samples for testing, by rapid diagnostic test (RDT) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based testing. Risk factors for infection were examined using logistic regression; and a randomized subset of males was tested for glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiencies using a combined PCR and sequencing approach.There were zero positives by RDT, and PCR detected Plasmodium infections in 39 (0.77%; 95% CI 0.40-1.47%) of 5082 analysable samples. The species distribution was Plasmodium vivax (28 total); Plasmodium falciparum/P. vivax (5); P. falciparum (3), Plasmodium malariae (2), and P. vivax/P. malariae (1). In multivariable analysis, the main risk factors included having any other cases within the household [aOR 12.83 (95% CI 4.40 to 37.38), p?<?0.001]; and lack of bed net ownership within the household [aOR 10.91 (95% 5.42-21.94), p?<?0.001]; age, sex and forest-travel were not associated with parasitaemia. A total of 910 males were tested for the six most common G6PDd in SE Asia; and 30 (3.3%; 95% CI 2.1-5.1%) had a G6PD variant allele associated with G6PD deficiency, with the majority being the Union (14) and Viangchan (11) polymorphisms, with smaller numbers of Canton and Mahidol.This is the first rigorous PCR-based population survey for malaria infection in Northern Lao PDR, and found a very low prevalence of asymptomatic Plasmodium infections by standard PCR methods, with P. vivax predominating in the surveyed districts. Clustering of cases within households, and lack of a bed nets suggest reactive case detection, and scale-up of coverage should be prioritized. The predominance of infections with P. vivax, combined with moderate levels of serious G6PD deficiencies highlight the need for careful rollout of primaquine towards elimination goals.
Project description:Introduction: Novel interventions are needed to accelerate malaria elimination, especially in areas where asymptomatic parasitemia is common, and where transmission generally occurs outside of village-based settings. Testing of community members linked to a person with clinical illness (reactive case detection, RACD) has not shown effectiveness in prior studies due to the limited sensitivity of current point-of-care tests. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of active case finding in village-based and forested-based settings using novel high-sensitivity rapid diagnostic tests in Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). Methods and analysis: This study is a cluster-randomized split-plot design trial. The interventions include village-based mass test and treat (MTAT), focal test and treat in high-risk populations (FTAT), and the combination of these approaches, using high-sensitivity rapid diagnostic tests (HS-RDTs) to asses P. falciparum infection status. Within four districts in Champasak province, Lao PDR fourteen health center-catchment areas will be randomized to either FTAT or control; and within these HCCAs, 56 villages will be randomized to either MTAT or control. In intervention areas, FTAT will be conducted by community-based peer navigators on a routine basis, and three separate rounds of MTAT are planned. The primary study outcome will be PCR-based Plasmodium falciparum prevalence after one year of implementation. Secondary outcomes include malaria incidence; interventional coverage; operational feasibility and acceptability; and cost and cost- effectiveness. Ethics and dissemination: Findings will be reported on clinicaltrials.gov, in peer-reviewed publications and through stakeholder meetings with Ministry of Health and community leaders in Lao PDR and throughout the Greater Mekong Subregion. Trial registration: clinicaltrials.gov NCT03783299 (21/12/2018).
Project description:BACKGROUND: MSP-1 is one of the potential malarial vaccine candidate antigens. However, extensive genetic polymorphism of this antigen in the field isolates of Plasmodium falciparum represents a major hindrance for the development of an effective vaccine. Therefore, this study aimed to establish the prevalence and genetic polymorphisms of K1, MAD20 and RO33 allelic types of msp-1 block 2 among P. falciparum clinical isolates from Lao PDR. METHODS: Plasmodium falciparum isolates were collected from 230 P. falciparum-infected blood samples from three regions of Lao PDR. K1, MAD20 and RO33 were detected by nested PCR; SSCP was used for polymorphism screening. The nested PCR products of each K1, MAD20 and RO33 allelic types that had different banding patterns by SSCP, were sequenced. RESULTS: The overall prevalence of K1, MAD20 and RO33 allelic types in P. falciparum isolates from Lao PDR were 66.95%, 46.52% and 31.30%, respectively, of samples under study. Single infections with K1, MAD20 and RO33 allelic types were 27.83%, 11.74% and 5.22%, respectively; the remainders were multiple clonal infections. Neither parasite density nor age was related to MOI. Sequence analysis revealed that there were 11 different types of K1, eight different types of MAD20, and 7 different types of RO33. Most of them were regional specific, except type 1 of each allelic type was common found in 3 regions under study. CONCLUSIONS: Genetic polymorphism with diverse allele types was identified in msp-1 block 2 among P. falciparum clinical isolates in Lao PDR. A rather high level of multiple clonal infections was also observed but the multiplicity of infection was rather low as not exceed 2.0. This basic data are useful for treatment and malaria control program in Lao PDR.
Project description:The diagnosis of malaria during pregnancy is complicated by placental sequestration, asymptomatic infection, and low-density peripheral parasitaemia. Where intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine is threatened by drug resistance, or is inappropriate due to low transmission, intermittent screening and treatment (ISTp) with rapid diagnostic tests for malaria (RDT) could be a valuable alternative. Therefore, the accuracy of RDTs to detect peripheral and placental infection was assessed in a declining transmission setting in Papua New Guinea (PNG).The performance of a combination RDT detecting histidine-rich protein-2 (HRP-2) and Plasmodium lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH), and light microscopy (LM), to diagnose peripheral Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax infections during pregnancy, were assessed using quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) as the reference standard. Participants in a malaria prevention trial in PNG with a haemoglobin ?90 g/L, or symptoms suggestive of malaria, were tested. Ability of RDT and LM to detect active placental infection on histology was evaluated in some participants.Among 876 women, 1162 RDTs were undertaken (anaemia: 854 [73.5 %], suspected malaria: 308 [26.5 %]). qPCR detected peripheral infection during 190 RDT episodes (165 P. falciparum, 19 P. vivax, 6 mixed infections). Overall, RDT detected peripheral P. falciparum infection with 45.6 % sensitivity (95 % CI 38.0-53.4), a specificity of 96.4 % (95.0-97.4), a positive predictive value of 68.4 % (59.1-76.8), and a negative predictive value of 91.1 % (89.2-92.8). RDT performance to detect P. falciparum was inferior to LM, more so amongst anaemic women (18.6 vs 45.3 % sensitivity, Liddell's exact test, P < 0.001) compared to symptomatic women (72.9 vs 82.4 % sensitivity, P = 0.077). RDT and LM missed 88.0 % (22/25) and 76.0 % (19/25) of P. vivax infections, respectively. In a subset of women tested at delivery and who had placental histology (n = 158) active placental infection was present in 19.6 %: all three peripheral blood infection detection methods (RDT, LM, qPCR) missed >50 % of these infections.In PNG, HRP-2/pLDH RDTs may be useful to diagnose peripheral P. falciparum infections in symptomatic pregnant women. However, they are not sufficiently sensitive for use in intermittent screening amongst asymptomatic (anaemic) women. These findings have implications for the management of malaria in pregnancy. The adverse impact of infections undetected by RDT or LM on pregnancy outcomes needs further evaluation.
Project description:BACKGROUND: During pregnancy, malaria infection with Plasmodium falciparum or Plasmodium vivax is related to adverse maternal health and poor birth outcomes. Diagnosis of malaria, during pregnancy, is complicated by the absence or low parasite densities in peripheral blood. Diagnostic methods, other than microscopy, are needed for detection of placental malaria. Therefore, the diagnostic accuracy of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), detecting antigen, and molecular techniques (PCR), detecting DNA, for the diagnosis of Plasmodium infections in pregnancy was systematically reviewed. METHODS: MEDLINE, EMBASE and Web of Science were searched for studies assessing the diagnostic accuracy of RDTs, PCR, microscopy of peripheral and placental blood and placental histology for the detection of malaria infection (all species) in pregnant women. RESULTS: The results of 49 studies were analysed in metandi (Stata), of which the majority described P. falciparum infections. Although both placental and peripheral blood microscopy cannot reliably replace histology as a reference standard for placental P. falciparum infection, many studies compared RDTs and PCR to these tests. The proportion of microscopy positives in placental blood (sensitivity) detected by peripheral blood microscopy, RDTs and PCR are respectively 72% [95% CI 62-80], 81% [95% CI 55-93] and 94% [95% CI 86-98]. The proportion of placental blood microscopy negative women that were negative in peripheral blood microscopy, RDTs and PCR (specificity) are 98% [95% CI 95-99], 94% [95% CI 76-99] and 77% [95% CI 71-82]. Based on the current data, it was not possible to determine if the false positives in RDTs and PCR are caused by sequestered parasites in the placenta that are not detected by placental microscopy. CONCLUSION: The findings suggest that RDTs and PCR may have good performance characteristics to serve as alternatives for the diagnosis of malaria in pregnancy, besides any other limitations and practical considerations concerning the use of these tests. Nevertheless, more studies with placental histology as reference test are urgently required to reliably determine the accuracy of RDTs and PCR for the diagnosis of placental malaria. P. vivax-infections have been neglected in diagnostic test accuracy studies of malaria in pregnancy.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Asymptomatic malaria, which usually exists in low parasitemia, acts as the Plasmodium species reservoirs contributing towards malaria transmission. This situation hinders malaria elimination programs in endemic areas, thus necessitating an active case detection with a high sensitive method and treatment of cases. This is why we used a High Resolution Melting (HRM) assay to monitor the trend of asymptomatic malaria in a malaria endemic area of Iran which is under elimination program.<h4>Methods</h4>The peripheral blood was sampled from 271 clinically approved non-febrile individuals from a malaria endemic zone of southeastern Iran for asymptomatic malaria prevalence detection by microscopy, Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) and HRM methods. The HRM assay was done based on the amplification of 18S SSU rRNA gene.<h4>Results</h4>The HRM assay revealed infections from three individuals out of 271 (1.1% asymptomatic malaria prevalence) from the participants, two Iranian natives with <i>Plasmodium vivax</i> infection and one Pakistani immigrant with <i>P. falciparum</i> infection. Neither microscopy nor RDTs detected <i>Plasmodium</i> spp infections from the 271 non-febrile individuals. The nucleotide sequencing analysis of the positive controls used in this study showed a close homology with the reference gene bank sequences of <i>P. falciparum</i> 3D7 (CPO16995.1) and <i>P. vivax</i> Sal-1(UO3079.1).<h4>Conclusion</h4>This study revealed a low frequency of asymptomatic malaria trend within malaria endemic areas of southeastern Iran which are under intense elimination program and also the ability of HRM assay in detecting low <i>Plasmodium</i> spp parasitemia beyond the limits of microscopy and RDTs.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>In the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), current malaria surveillance strategies rely on a network of village health volunteers (VHVs) reporting the results of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), known to miss many asymptomatic infections. Integration of more sensitive diagnostic molecular and serological measures into the VHV network may improve surveillance of residual malaria transmission in hard-to-reach areas in the region and inform targeted interventions and elimination responses. However, data on residual malaria transmission that would be captured by these measures in the VHV-led testing and treatment surveillance network in the GMS is unknown.<h4>Methods</h4>A total of 114 VHVs were trained to collect dried blood spots from villagers undergoing routine RDTs as part of VHV-led active and passive case detection from April 2015 to June 2016. Samples were subjected to molecular testing (quantitative polymerase chain reaction [qPCR]) to determine Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax infection and serological testing (against P. falciparum and P. vivax antigens) to determine exposure to P. falciparum and P. vivax.<h4>Results</h4>Over 15 months, 114 VHVs performed 32,194 RDTs and collected samples for molecular (n = 13,157) and serological (n = 14,128) testing. The prevalence of molecular-detectable P. falciparum and P. vivax infection was 3.2% compared to the 0.16% prevalence of Plasmodium spp. by RDT, highlighting the large burden of infections undetected by standard surveillance. Peaks in anti-P. falciparum, but not P. vivax, merozoite IgG seroprevalence coincided with seasonal P. falciparum transmission peaks, even in those with no molecularly detectable parasites. At the individual level, antibody seropositivity was associated with reduced odds of contemporaneous P. falciparum (OR for PfCSP 0.51 [95%CI 0.35, 0.76], p = 0.001, PfAMA1 0.70 [95%CI 0.52, 0.93], p = 0.01, and PfMSP2 0.81 [95%CI 0.61, 1.08], p = 0.15), but not P. vivax infection (OR PvAMA1 1.02 [95%CI 0.73, 1.43], p = 0.89) indicating a potential role of immunity in protection against molecular-detectable P. falciparum parasitaemia.<h4>Conclusions</h4>We demonstrated that integration and implementation of sample collection for molecular and serological surveillance into networks of VHV servicing hard-to-reach populations in the GMS is feasible, can capture significant levels of ongoing undetected seasonal malaria transmission and has the potential to supplement current routine RDT testing. Improving malaria surveillance by advancing the integration of molecular and serological techniques, through centralised testing approaches or novel point-of-contact tests, will advance progress, and tracking, towards malaria elimination goals in the GMS.