Epidemiologic patterns of malaria infection are governed by environmental parameters that regulate vector populations of Anopheles mosquitoes. The intensity of malaria parasite transmission is normally expressed as the entomologic inoculation rate (EIR), the product of the vector biting rate times the proportion of mosquitoes infected with sporozoite-stage malaria parasites. Malaria transmission intensity in Africa is highly variable with annual EIRs ranging from < 1 to > 1,000 infective bites per person per year. Malaria control programs often seek to reduce morbidity and mortality due to malaria by reducing or eliminating malaria parasite transmission by mosquitoes. This report evaluates data from 31 sites throughout Africa to establish fundamental relationships between annual EIRs and the prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum malaria infection. The majority of sites fitted a linear relationship (r2 = 0.71) between malaria prevalence and the logarithm of the annual EIR. Some sites with EIRs < 5 infective bites per year had levels of P. falciparum prevalence exceeding 40%. When transmission exceeded 15 infective bites per year, there were no sites with prevalence rates < 50%. Annual EIRs of 200 or greater were consistently associated with prevalence rates > 80%. The basic relationship between EIR and P. falciparum prevalence, which likely holds in east and west Africa, and across different ecologic zones, shows convincingly that substantial reductions in malaria prevalence are likely to be achieved only when EIRs are reduced to levels less than 1 infective bite per person per year. The analysis also highlights that the EIR is a more direct measure of transmission intensity than traditional measures of malaria prevalence or hospital-based measures of infection or disease incidence. As such, malaria field programs need to consider both entomologic and clinical assessments of the efficacy of transmission control measures.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases