Background:Case detection and treatment are critical to malaria control and elimination as infected individuals who do not seek medical care can serve as persistent reservoirs for transmission.Methods:Household malaria surveys were conducted in two study areas within Southern Province, Zambia in 2007 and 2008. Cross-sectional surveys were conducted approximately five times throughout the year in each of the two study areas. During study visits, adults and caretakers of children were administered a questionnaire and a blood sample was obtained for a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) for malaria. These data were used to estimate the proportions of individuals with malaria potentially identified through passive case detection at health care facilities and those potentially identified through reactive case finding. Simulations were performed to extrapolate data from sampled to non-sampled households. Radii of increasing size surrounding households with an index case were examined to determine the proportion of households with an infected individual that would be identified through reactive case detection.Results:In the 2007 high transmission setting, with a parasite prevalence of 23%, screening neighboring households within 500 meters of an index case could have identified 89% of all households with an RDT positive resident and 90% of all RDT positive individuals. In the 2008 low transmission setting, with a parasite prevalence of 8%, screening neighboring households within 500 meters of a household with an index case could have identified 77% of all households with an RDT positive resident and 76% of all RDT positive individuals.Conclusions:Testing and treating individuals residing within a defined radius from an index case has the potential to be an effective strategy to identify and treat a large proportion of infected individuals who do not seek medical care, although the efficiency of this strategy is likely to decrease with declining parasite prevalence.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank the residents of Choma District who participated in the study. This work was supported by the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute, the Bloomberg Family Foundation, and the Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health.